INSIDE: Seven days of TV viewing
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’.’’