There’s offbeat, then there’s Hoffbeat.
An actor who has as much experience playing himself on screen as he does playing actual characters, David Hasselhoff has consistently embraced his status as a D-list celebrity.
The Hoff first raced into the pop culture zeitgeist in 1982 inside everyone’s favorite talking sports car, KITT, in the television series “Knight Rider,” then cemented his iconic, if not campy, status by shirtlessly starring on “Baywatch” for a full decade.
But much like the sand he always seemed to be running along, many of his works have slipped through the cracks unnoticed, from the time he dabbled in the Marvel Universe before it was cool to his valiant struggle with giant snakes.
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To celebrate Hasselhoff’s 65th birthday Monday, here’s a glance back at just a few of those titles from his work on the small screen that you might not have seen.
“Nick Fury: Agent of Shield”
Years before Samuel L. Jackson assembled Captain America, Iron Man and the rest of the Avengers, the Hoff was busy making a lack of depth perception look badass in the 1998 TV movie “Nick Fury: Agent of Shield.”
As the eyepatch-wearing leader of a world-defending counterterrorism agency — essentially the CIA but for fighting super villains — Hasselhoff faced off against the terrorist group Hydra, delivering a slightly more over-the-top version of the comic book character than moviegoers may be accustomed to.
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For example, when he miraculously turns up alive, one of his agents tells him, “Nick! Thank God. I thought you were dead.”
To which he responds, “I was. But now I’m better.”
Needless to say, Hasselhoff has aged better than the movie itself.
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Asking audiences if they could ever have too much “Baywatch,” this spinoff was released while the original series was still going strong.
The story followed the original series’ resident cop, Sgt. Garner Ellerbee, as he started a detective agency with Hasselhoff’s wave-crashing character, Mitch Buchannon.
Famed jazz singer Lou Rawls, because why not, is also there to rent out his nightclub so the two can have some office space.
The show lasted only two years, but in that time it would make some wild attempts at finding its voice, beginning with foiling roller-skating burglars in the inaugural season to featuring not one but two episodes centered around sea monsters in its follow-up season.
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Not backing down from its newfound supernatural slant, the second season tackled such hard-hitting issues of the day as half-human, half-fish women who kill people but only want to have a baby, demon possession, the threat that radioactive space dust poses to our farming industry, Vikings, evil computer games and haunted restaurants.
The late ’90s was an incredible time.
Not to be confused with “Layover” (a movie about the Hoff making the mistake of having an affair with a woman at an airport only to find out she’s married to a dangerous jewelry dealer), “Gridlock” is like “Die Hard With a Vengeance” for people who care less about acting and plot but simply want their protagonist to have a full head of hair.
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The 1996 made-for-TV movie sees Hasselhoff playing a member of the NYPD’s Aviation Unit as someone destroys every bridge to Manhattan.
Terrorists are immediately blamed, but the Hoff realizes it’s actually a plot to rob the Federal Reserve Bank.
Overall the movie isn’t short on bad dialogue delivered with the utmost conviction by this part-time German pop star, but the gold medal goes to relatively unknown actor Marc Strange.
As Hasselhoff’s brother in the film, Strange gets the pleasure of facing down one of the film’s many bad guys and saying, “Wait, you’re too stupid to live.”
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“Anaconda 3: Offspring”
In case you didn’t realize they even made a sequel to 1997’s snake-based horror film “Anaconda” — a movie that turned out to have an all-star cast with Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube, Jon Voight, Owen Wilson, Eric Stoltz, Danny Trejo and character actor Jonathan Hyde — you’ll be even more surprised to learn that they actually made four movies in total, not counting a crossover with the giant alligator-based “Lake Placid” franchise.
“Anaconda 3: Offspring” tells the story of two anacondas, a sort of serpentine Bonnie and Clyde, that escape a research facility after getting experimented on.
Unfortunately, things don’t end well for these star-crossed anacondas when Hasselhoff, playing an animal hunter named Hammett, is hired to return the reptiles.
Who stole 500 life-size David Hasselhoff cutouts?
That is to say, he blows them up.
He blows them up real good.
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