While viewers tuned in weekly to catch David Hasselhoff as iconic crime-fighter Mark Knight in Knight Rider, this ’80s staple hasn’t necessarily withstood the test of time. When the series briefly made its way onto Netflix, it was largely met by the muffled giggles of adults realizing their highly-cherished childhood hero was, in reality, not so great. Calling it “criminally awful,” a critic for The Globe and Mail once noted, “Mr. Hasselhoff reads dialogue the same way nearsighted patients read optometrists’ eye charts.” Ouch.
While Hasselhoff was later able to hide behind the fame of costars Pamela Anderson and Yasmine Bleeth on Baywatch, starring in the ’90s it didn’t help the actor much in this area either. However, it led to some refreshing self-awareness about his career. As an executive producer on the series, Hasselhoff once turned down none other than Leonardo DiCaprio for a role. “He introduced me to his parents. And I said, ‘I’m responsible for your son being a huge star’ … If Leonardo had gotten the role, I don’t think he would have become the Leonardo that he is,” he told GQ in 2017, before explaining, “When you do a show like Baywatch or Knight Rider, you don’t get the respect of coolness within the industry.” And just like that, our hearts went out to The Hoff.