IN­SIDE: Seven days of TV viewing

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page - DAR­REN DEV­LYN CELEBRITY AP­PREN­TICE AUSTRALIA, WIN, Wed­nes­day and Thurs­day, 8pm

WHEN you sign Elvis Pres­ley to your band, you’re hardly go­ing to hide him down the back on the tam­bourine. You stick him out front, where he can swivel his hips for the scream­ing fans.

In the open­ing scenes of

Celebrity Ap­pren­tice Australia, con­tes­tant Ian ‘‘ Dicko’’ Dickson claims David Has­sel­hoff is his team’s Elvis – the man who will draw hordes of ex­cited fans to Bondi Beach for a dog- wash chal­lenge de­signed to raise money for the Starlight Chil­dren’s Foun­da­tion. Dicko’s on the money. Has­sel­hoff, who is listed in Guin­ness World

Records as ‘‘ The Most Watched TV Star in the World’’ thanks to roles in Knight Rider and

Bay­watch, is drip­ping in sweat but he’s in­de­fati­ga­ble as crowds flock to Bondi os­ten­si­bly to have their dogs sham­pooed.

‘‘ We raised $ 245,000 in the first round be­cause they used me as bait,’’ Has­sel­hoff says of Dicko’s Team Plat­inum.

‘‘ They [ fans] didn’t come over to wash their dogs, they came over to take a picture with a guy who is go­ing to give them world­wide pub­lic­ity. I know what mar­ket­ing is about. I’ve mar­keted David Has­sel­hoff and I’ve mar­keted The Hoff.’’

Has­sel­hoff loathes pre­ten­sion. He knows there are those who see him as a man smoth­ered in show­biz cheese, but even they can­not deny his stag­ger­ing global pop­u­lar­ity as a singer and an ac­tor.

In­ter­view­ing him, he’s im­pos­si­ble not to like. There’s no hint of man­u­fac­tured nice­ness – or air­brushed dull­ness – about the way he an­swers ques­tions.

It’s fair to say few have lived a life as public as Has­sel­hoff’s. His fan base is mon­u­men­tal and mo­bile phone tech­nol­ogy has en­sured he rarely has a public out­ing that is not filmed or pho­tographed.

He says if peo­ple act ‘‘ in­ap­pro­pri­ately’’ in try­ing to get a snap when he’s with his girl­friend, Hayley Roberts, or daugh­ters, Tay­lor- Ann and Hayley, ‘‘ they are go­ing to get a re­ac­tion from me’’.

Fans rarely ask for per­mis­sion be­fore point­ing a lens in Has­sel­hoff’s di­rec­tion.

‘‘ Peo­ple don’t even think about it, they just start ( film­ing) . . . there’s also a side of me that says the time to worry is when no­body wants to film you,’’ he says, laugh­ing.

Has­sel­hoff, born in Bal­ti­more, Mary­land, in 1952, has been singing, act­ing and danc­ing since the age of seven. For all his suc­cesses, how­ever, he has also had his share of hard knocks.

A low point came in 2007, when he was filmed drunk at home with one of his daugh­ters. He saw the re­lease of the footage as a dis­grace­ful in­va­sion of privacy and was mor­ti­fied his daugh­ter had to en­dure it be­ing played on Youtube 11 mil­lion times.

‘‘ More than any­thing it em­bar­rassed my daugh­ter, hurt her and hurt me be­cause it was some­thing that was not legally put out. It made me re­ally sad . . . it wasn’t to talk about al­co­holism and David Has­sel­hoff and his kids. It had ev­ery­thing to do with rat­ings.’’

Has­sel­hoff is de­cid­edly more up­beat when talk turns to act­ing ven­tures. He bursts with en­thu­si­asm as he speaks dur­ing

a break from film­ing the movie,

The Christ­mas Con­sul­tant.

He also has a role in the du­bi­ously ti­tled Pi­ranha 3DD, which prom­ises gore mixed with bikini babes.

There is also a pos­si­bil­ity Has­sel­hoff will squeeze a wed­ding into his busy sched­ule.

He’s been mar­ried twice – to Cather­ine Hick­land and Pamela Bach – but his ro­mance with Roberts, 32, has him think­ing he’d like to have a third go.

He has jok­ingly pro­posed to her five times in a se­ries of bizarre sit­u­a­tions, once while swim­ming with sharks.

His next cel­e­bra­tion will be his 60th birth­day in July.

‘‘ I want to put on some­thing big. I might have The Hoff Fes­ti­val cel­e­brat­ing my 60th birth­day. Right now there’s an of­fer to have it in Aus­tria be­cause that’s where I started my mu­sic ca­reer,’’ he says. ‘‘ I said, ‘ Which­ever comes first – the fes­ti­val or the fu­neral’.’’

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