TV Detective News: A Sex Change for 'McCloud'

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A 1975 recording of Savalas singing "If," the popular song by Bread, rivals the William Shatner rendition of "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" for worst-ever celebrity musical performance.

Still, the song rocketed to No. 1 in Britain.

A Las Vegas hotel paid the gravel-voiced actor $100,000 a week to work up a cabaret act, which proved moderately successful, although Savalas reportedly received a telegram that read, "I ain't worried. Signed, Ol' Blue Eyes."

Kojak's trademark lollypop sucking may seem like a stroke of genius. It's more of an accident. Savalas was struggling to give up smoking, so he turned to the candy as a distraction.

Savalas, who died of prostate cancer in 1994, nearly missed the boat to stardom. He was the Dirty Dozen's resident rapist, and served time with Burt Lancaster in The Birdman of Alcatraz. He should have been the star of Cool Hand Luke, too, only he was at sea on an extended trip when the studio called. Producers had to settle on Paul Newman, a great second choice who would have made a lousy Kojak, had the situation been reversed.

It could have opened the door, perhaps, to a line of "Newman's Own" brand designer toupees. Starsky & Hutch:

David Soul, the blond half of Starsky & Hutch, took some knocks for his campy '70s hit, "Don't Give Up on Us, Baby," but his real life turned into a fairly compelling courtroom drama.

Soul actually realized many an artist's dream: He sued a critic for slamming one of his plays — and won.

In 1998, British newspaper journalist and TV personality Matthew Wright called Soul's Dead Monkey one of the worst plays ever staged in London — so bad that ushers had to beg the audience to stay after growing weary of the laugh-out-loud attempts at drama.