LOS ANGELES — Few actors are as synonymous with the '80s as David Hasselhoff.
Since speeding to celebrity status in his high-tech KITT car on the crime-fighting TV show Knight Rider and solidifying his star turn with a pair of red swim trunks and an 11-season run of chest-baring performances in Baywatch, the Hoff, as he’s known, has been an omnipresent force in pop culture for almost four decades.
Now many of the items from his TV, film, and stage career are going up for sale as part of the Hoff Auction.
Among the 153 items that will be sold to the highest bidder during an online auction Saturday: a life-size cardboard cutout of the Hoff (currently bid up to $325), an autographed Night Rocker record (currently bid up to $800), and a pair of “Hof-worn” shorts from the actor’s cameo in the 2004 Spongebob Movie that’s going for at least $1,000.
“The attention this is getting from around the world is nothing short of remarkable,” said Rob Burakoff, owner of Diligent Auction Services, which is hosting the online auction that starts at 9 a.m. Saturday but already has bidders from more than 40 countries jacking up the prices.
“I don’t know why anyone wants to pay $400 for a Baywatch T-shirt, but that’s where the bidding is,” Burakoff said.
While the auction features a wide variety of items, from Baywatch Barbies and concert posters to a surprising number of autographed bathrobes, it’s the Knight Rider memorabilia that’s drawing the most attention and the 69-year-old actor’s personal KITT car that is drawing the biggest money. Valued at $175,000 to $300,000 when it was first placed online for auction, eight bidders have pushed it to a phenomenal $500,000.
A portion of proceeds from the auction will go to Hasselhoff’s charitable organizations, including Global Mobility, a non-profit that provides free wheelchairs and mobility assistance to individuals with disabilities.
Interested bidders need to register on the Live Auctioneers website and be approved for bidding before they can virtually raise a paddle. The bidding is already active but will be live Saturday morning, with Burakoff serving as auctioneer, selling each signed photograph, director’s chair, and Baywatch beach visor one by one for at least two hours.
A second Hoff Auction is scheduled for late March and will focus on his singing career.
“He has so much stuff,” Burakoff said, adding that the next auction will likely have between 150 and 200 items. “Most people don’t know he has something like 30 gold records, but he’s a hugely popular singer outside the U.S., so that will be the big draw in the next auction.”