Monday, June 16, 2008Pop culture staple, actor and singer David Hasselhoff has enjoyed and endured decades of the limelight. From hit TV series' "Knight Rider" and "Baywatch" to Broadway performances and a singing career in Europe, he never wants for work. He returns as one of the judges for "America's Got Talent" in tomorrow night's two-hour season premiere, 9 p.m. on NBC.When judging "America's Got Talent," do you ever find yourself feeling embarrassed for the contestants?I feel embarrassed for some of the judges' comments. I feel embarrassed for some of my comments that I have to make that are sometimes honest. As much as I want to be compassionate and let people down in a positive way ... I have to be honest. I've been compassionate toward people by saying, "Somebody needs to get this person off the stage." They don't really realize what they are doing.
When you first got into the business, was fame one of your motivators?Never, no. I'm just a kid from Baltimore who wanted to be in theater. I had no aspirations for fame. I wanted to go to Broadway. That's all I wanted to do. That was my goal. That was my dream, and I think you have to have goals and dreams.Your daughters, both teenagers, have seen you go through ups and downs in the tabloid press.They have a harder skin than me. They keep me straight. They know who I am and they know it's a bunch of garbage. My kids and I are tight. The stuff that I got this time last year [YouTube video of him looking drunk in Las Vegas shot by his daughter] was exploitative and was almost the epitome of blackmail [he was in the midst of a heated custody battle at the time] ... because it used my children. When that came out, it crossed the line for me.Singing seems to be where you heart really is, so why do you think that aspect of your career is more popular in Europe?I think it's because I've never really had a proper release or a proper marketing campaign or a proper song for America. I happened to have the right song [for Europe] ... called "Looking for Freedom" and it happened to come out right before the Berlin Wall came down and people in East Germany were looking for freedom. It couldn't have been better timing.Why did you want to write "Don't Hassel The Hoff?"I wanted people to see the journey that I've been through and all of the amazing things that have happened to me from being a celebrity. I mean, I did not play on the negative. I played on the positive. I wrote it because my life was about hard work and incredible adventures ... how I went to Soweto, South Africa, during apartheid, and met Princess Diana and Paul McCartney in the same day and affected children in a positive way with Make-A-Wish and Race for Life Foundation. All these amazing things that have happened to me because of being the "Knight Rider."You seem to have a good attitude about the tabloid stories.What are you going to do? I mean, I've sued. I had to sue OK magazine and the Sun because they said the day that I got my children -- both of them had erroneous stories about me being thrown out of clubs because of alcohol, which is absolutely untrue. I won both cases. They paid me money and printed apologies. They were absolute unadulterated lies. They don't tell the truth. They say whatever they want.