Parallels Between Dennis Cole and David Hasselhoff’s Self Destructive Body Language- Dennis is Dead! David Still Has a Chance!


Dennis Cole when he was a hottie


I have seen the “Aging Actor What Do With Myself Syndrome” way too many times in Hollywood and it is is tragic! I saw it with my former neighbor, actor Dennis Cole, who finally died last week after years of self destruction. Now, I am seeing the same thing happening with David Hasselhoff. It scares me! If this man does not get out of denial and get the help he needs for his alcohol issues, he will die a horrible and lonely death just like Dennis Cole.

This “ Aging Actor What Do I Do With Myself Syndrome” happens to many actors who have been at the top of their game. They were in demand when they were younger. People adored them. All doors opened and they couldn’t get enough attention. Their phone didn’t stop ringing. Their agents and managers were attentive and bent over backwards for them. They could get them on the phone at a moment’s notice. They were on TV show after TV show or film after film. They directed, produced, ventured out into new arenas and were accepted. They sang and danced and appeared in theatre and did whatever they wanted to do. People flocked to them and around them. They had relationships, married and had kids . While some married again and again, life was still great.

Then, as what happens to all of us in life, life suddenly isn’t so great. Things change. It could be a bad divorce like in the case of David Hasselhoff, or a severe tragedy, as in case Dennis Cole, where his son was murdered.

Instead of going into therapy and really dealing with things, these men go into denial and then into self destruct mode. They have no coping skills, because early on everything was literally handed to them on a silver platter. So now that tragedy and discomfort strike, they aren’t as equipped to handle it like most of us. We go through our ups and downs and learn how to deal with our disappointments because we haven’t been catered to like these men. As a result, they have no clue what to do. So they turn their pain and discomfort inward and begin a course of self destruction.

They often drown themselves in pills or drugs or both. They end up doing awful things when they are under the influence like being mean and belligerent and fighting with people. They even beat people up or get arrested for violent acts.


Even before his son was tragically killed, Dennis Cole seemed pretty miserable living in L.A. He was getting older and there weren’t a lot of leading roles of aging heartthrobs. Back in the day, when he was younger, he was considered to be one of Hollywood’s hotties. He had a glorious career early on, and was a staple on every major popular TV show back in the 70’s.

On one of his gigs as a guest star on Charlie’s Angels, he met and later married Jacquelyn Smith. They divorced after 3 years. I imagine that he was pretty competitive with her and when his star didn’t shine as brightly as hers, there was trouble in paradise. After they divorced he did well for many years until he got older and more weathered looking. It was hard for him to make it in LA, so he was often out of town doing some theatrical or musical gig. In fact, whenever he was in town I would always hear him practicing his trumpet playing.

When I knew him, he was never able to get it together career wise as an actor. A lot of it had to do with the fact that there aren’t a lot of roles for aging actors. The grim reality is that Hollywood caters to the youth market. And there were even less roles for angry aging actors who seemed to have a chip on their shoulder and who seemed to fight with just about everyone, including those who could have hired them.


When Dennis moved away from LA and got married to a beautiful lady named Ree, I was really happy for him. She wasn’t in show business , which I thought was a very good thing for Dennis. Now there would be no competition- so I thought!. She was a real estate agent. He moved to Florida to be with her and he got out of show business.

Together, with his new wife he went into the real estate business and they became business partners (bad idea – completion thing ). Regardless, I thought that perhaps now Dennis could finally find some inner peace and true happiness. Ree even had a young son, so Dennis automatically became a dad again. Since he loved his deceased son so much, God gave him another chance to have a son and to be a father to a boy.


But despite all of these good things- a new and beautiful wife, a new career, a new environment away from L.A., a new home, and even a new son, his demons came out . It was obvious that Dennis didn’t seek help for his demons. If he did, we would never have seen the absolutely horrific and unrecognizable mug shot photo taken after he was arrested for domestic abuse. It made me sick to my stomach!

This was not the Dennis I remembered- my handsome, sparkly eyed, well groomed, and well spoken neighbor whom I used to see in the hallway throwing out his garbage or getting some sun out by the pool. This was not the same guy who showed up in star like fashion at one of my book parties or whom I used to run into and exchange pleasantries with at the many black tie events and Lakers games we attended.

This was a complete stranger- a bloated, puffy eyed and unkempt man with a deadened, dull gaze. I never would have recognized him as the same person I once knew. After seeing that mug shot photo and reading that he was involved in abusing that lovely woman he married, I got even more nauseated.

I prayed that maybe this public humiliation would be the catalyst that would force him to finally sort himself out and get the help he obviously needed. But he didn’t get help, or if he did, he didn’t continue to get help. Almost two years to the day of his domestic abuse arrest, he took some prescription drugs and drank alcohol. He went to the ER in a Florida hospital on a Friday and died on a Sunday. It was too late!


But it’s not too late for David Hasslehoff! He too appears to be suffering from the same syndrome as Dennis Cole. Equally gorgeous in his youth, David went from one hot show to the next- from Knight Rider to Baywatch. Like Dennis, David ventured into music as well. David became a pop sensation in Germany. They loved him. Like Dennis, he also had alcohol issues. Like Dennis, he too suffered loss and tragedy- his marriage ending in a very nasty divorce. Just like Dennis, David is no stranger to ER’s. Like Dennis, he became belligerent and hostile when drinking . And like Dennis, he was in complete denial until he ended up in the ER. I only pray that this is where the similarities end and that David does not end up in a similar position as Dennis- dead!


For the fifth time this year, 911 is called and David goes to the ER. He then comes home and there is always some cockamamie BS story about an ear infection or hamburger indigestion or a “seizure.”

For God’s sake, David, Get out of denial! You are an alcoholic and you are using! Just look at the tape where you are slobbering over your hamburger as you are lying on the floor and slurring your words.

Look at the disgusting tape of you on TMZ when you just flew back from Canada. You look higer than a kite in my opinion and Albert, your handler was fanning a paper at the papps to keep the press from seeing you in your sorry state. So don’t give us that “ seizure “ bullshit! If you are an epileptic and taking anti seizure medication, what the hell are you doing mixing it with alcohol? Do you have a death wish? Obviously to do!

Look at what you have done to your precious gorgeous daughters. Don’t collapse your hatred for ex wife Pamela, on to these innocent girls. They don’t deserve this. You have caused them so much anguish with your selfish and sick behavior. Get your head out of the sand.

No one will think less of you if you admit you are an alcoholic and are out of control like you showed recently in the UK. In fact, we will think more highly of you if you admit it and do something about it. Get into rehab IMMEDIATELY! You are killing yourself.

I wish that Cedars could keep you in there on 5150 so you can get evaluated. To me it looks like you are a danger to yourself and killing yourself. You need psychiatric help ASAP. You need to find out why you are relapsing so frequently. You need to clear out some inner demons.


You seem like such a wonderful guy. We all see your compassion and caring for those contestants on America Has Talent. You are so kind and caring- especially to the losers. The audience loves you. They love to hear you sing.

Your daughters love you or they wouldn’t be calling 911 on your behalf all the time. Instead they’d let you die. But all of that doesn’t matter. Everyone in the world can love you, but unless you love you, it is pointless.

Don’t get into the “Aging Actor What Do With Myself Syndrome.” There is plenty to do with you! You are only 57 for goodness sakes. You have a lot of life ahead of you and a lot to look forward to. You are so likeable and fun and a great performer. You can produce and direct and develop other talent. Most of all you can be a better father for your daughters so they won’t have to feel like the parent and call 9ll all the time.

Stop this self destruction right now! Get into a 12 step program and into rehab and make it work! We don’t want to lose you like we lost Dennis.


23 thoughts on “Parallels Between Dennis Cole and David Hasselhoff’s Self Destructive Body Language- Dennis is Dead! David Still Has a Chance!

  1. WOW~You’re not only a body language expert but you might just be psychic too. I looked at Radaronline and the headline is that David Hasselhoff went to the hospital after suffering a seizure. Of course they think it was alcohol related. The very sad part is, his daughter called the ambulance once again. His daughters are his caretakers as they watch over him and save his life time and time again. It saddens me to think of what this will do to them long term.


  2. I was a friend of Dennis Cole’s i’m very sad he is not with us. Drinking is the root of many evils for so many. Ageing in Hollywood can be ugly. The Murder of Dennis Coles son got him he never got past that. I do not blame him that is a big loss for anyone. To Dennis and his family my husband and i send our love and prayers. We are very sad he was a good person and he will be missed.

    The Duke and Duchess of Manchester


  3. It is a shame to have so much only to lose it all.
    I`man average citizen but a human being nontheless.
    I lost my family and just about everything else in a short period.
    All I can say is I`ll never be the same & understand why people self-destruct when in fact they aren`t doing without reason or all by themselves.
    Life throws a mean curveball……


  4. I met Dennis when I was 29 yrs. old. In Indianapolis IN. I didn’t get to know him all that well. He asked me if I would travel with him, I always regreted saying no. I just looked him up on the internet to see what he was doing, one can imagine to find that he’s not here. I don’t know what he did to his wife, but let me tell you this he is a star and always will be I feel sick to just find this out. He had a light in him that God grants only a few. Mrs.Smith my regrets you are a class act. I’m so sorry for your loss. Oh, that was 10 yrs. ago Please don’t get the wrong impression of him. I miss him.


  5. I was very close with Dennis up until 2001 when we lost touch. Dennis was a lovely man with a big heart. We had lots of good times and laughs together. He never quite got over the death (murder) or his son. Dennis was sober for many years but one day we were talking and he said why be sober, what do I have to live for, Joey is gone. Very sad news tonight as I came on Facebook to connect with him and instead got hit with the fact that he was gone.

    Maggie Mabie
    June 27th, 2013


  6. This web blog saddens me deeply.
    Dennis was one of the strongest, most pleasant, trustworthy people I know. He and I were friends. I’m an actress/model in Hollywood, Florida. I believe I may know him a little more than what has been published here for the world to see.
    He loved his son, yes indeed. It would hurt anyone to lose a beloved family member. He lost his brother who lives in Michigan not long before he passed. He loved his wife very much too. This isn’t all he was going through nor is alcohol the true cause of his upset. Actors probably have deeper emotions than most. What you have stated here isn’t entirely the case. Dennis had back pain and rarely took any pain medication for it. While at a restaurant, he didn’t have any alcohol. I hold Dennis’ private life in my heart, in a positive way, and he should be remembered with love and respect.
    Being that you’re a Doctor, I’m disappointed that you pretty much desecrated my friends rather than finding ways to honor Dennis and encourage David to better himself. Further, professional opinions should be private with the person, in an agreed mutual meeting place, not on-line like this.Whenever in doubt about addressing somebody else, ask yourself how you would feel should somebody do this to you. We all have shortcomings and weaknesses. We’re all in this together. Hating what a person does is not going to change them. They must desire to change for themselves.
    Please remove your hurtful comments and post an apology to Dennis Cole’s friends and family and to David Hasselhoff. May there be more love and support in this world for everybody.


    1. Sorry you feel that way. I completely stand behind what I said as Dennis’ neighbor whom I knew for many many years as I lived across the hall from him in our condo and we were dear friends as well. And while he had a big heart, he also sadly had a drinking issue.After publishing this blog, his widow Ree Fritz Cole, who knew him best, reached out to me with great appreciation and validated and was in total support of everything that I said. Since then we have become the dearest of friends and five years later since this article was written and since Dennis’ passing Ree was able to open her heart and find love again and I am delighted to say that I will be attending her wedding later this month. I know that Dennis cherished Ree and his only wish for her would be to see her happy again, which she is. As far as David Hasselhoff is concerned at the time he was out of control as we all saw on the video. I too received thanks for the article from his former wife, who also knew him best, Catherine Hickland.


    2. Chandra
      You clearly dis not know Dennis very well and from what you write while you may have been a passing acquaintence, you were definitely not a close friend. If you were a close friend of Dennis’ as you report that you are, you would have known about his drinking problem and not be in denial as you appear to be in this response. You say while at a restaurant he didn’t have alcohol. That may have been one instance or during the times he was sober but that was not the case prior to his death. Even his wife Ree Fritz Cole can verify this as while he loved her and she loved him, living with Dennis was a challenge due to his alcoholism. Since she and I have become dear friends she confirmed this as do I being his neighbor for 2 decades.No one is asking to change Dennis as you say in your response as Dennis is dead. You also contradict yourself throughout your missive. On one level you deny his drinking and on the other level you apologize for his actions. Neither I not his ex wife Ree hated Dennis as you so ignorantly report. But we did hate the way he self destructed and tried to redirect his self destructive tendencies. I refuse to remove my comments as they are not hurtful. They are factual as Ree would agree and as Ree supports.The same is true for David as his ex wife also reached out to me and we have become the dearest of friends. Thus she can validate David’s actions which by the way we all saw on his embarrassing and out of control video that his own daughter shot of him.
      So Chandra, take your animosity elsewhere, not here. This post is not about hate or love. It is about fact and the fact is Dennis slef destructed and we don’t want David to go down the same path.


    3. I am saddened to learn of the untimely demise of Mr. Dennis Cole and the senseless murder of hie beloved son, Joey..However, I am in agreement with the doctor for posting his professional, yet compassionate, assessment…Countess Maffetone


  7. I didn’t know Mr. Cole, but as a teenager I watched and enjoyed his performances on Bracken’s World and especially Bearcats! Later I attended USC’s film school. I eventually became a true crime author and investigative reporter. And I’ve worked a lot with Florida law enforcement while on assignment. I was just following some imdb links tonight and that is when I discovered Mr. Cole had died. While it saddens me, I am not surprised. His Florida arrest was the tip-off that he was sliding down toward disaster. I cannot imagine the pain he felt losing his son to murder. I do know that the LA Sheriff’s Department has a crackerjack Cold Case Squad I have worked with. I wonder if they have taken a second look at his son’s homicide.


  8. I worked with Dennis on an event in Malibu in the late 80’s. He was still handsome then and shyly charming. I didn’t know what happened to him until recently when I read that he had died. A real tragedy. It was clear that he was not finding the success he had hoped for in the business.


  9. I knew Dennis longer than anyone that has posted a comment here on this blog.
    I was a struggling actor in NYC I met Dennis threw Joanne Carson (Johnnie Carson”s wife). he did a play there on Broadway “All The girls came Out To Play”. He helped me whenever he could, I got work On Young and Restless, and Barbary Coast. This is when he lived up in Nichols Canyon. I think he was happiest there, I also was with him when he gained custody of Joey. We used to go down to Gazzarie’s on Sunset. I now live in Florida and we kept in touch. I met his wife Rhea and she seemed to be a nice woman. Some people may not know but Dennis father was a trumpet player and committed suicide in Fort Lauderdale. We went to the house a few times, but I finally convince him this was not healthy. My friend Dennis was an alcoholic, he went to the meetings, he went cold turkey, he tried to do better, but for whatever reasons he could not conquer it. I miss him a lot and hope there is an afterlife for him and Joey.
    Rick Brown-March 3, 2014 at 11:08pm


  10. It’s spelled “Jaclyn Smith” not “Jacqueline”. How come Hasselhoff didn’t sue you the way Dr Phil was sued by Britney Spears??


    1. First of all Solange I did not treat or see Hasselhoff privately as a patient so there is no basis for any suit. Nothing defamatory was said, only the truth and my point of view. At the time this article which was written almost 8 years ago, David Hasselhoff was in deep trouble as the world saw. At the time he was going down the wrong path a la Dennis Cole and this was a blog encouraging him to seek help. I believe he did undergo rehab. And FYI as a result of this blog both the ex wife of David Hasselhoff and Dennis Cole reached out to thank me for writing this blog and have since both become two of my closest friends. So please take you animosity elsewhere, not on this blog.


      1. Interesting read. I was Dennis’ girlfriend for many years directly following his marriage to Jaclyn Smith. Sadly, Dennis carried around demons since his childhood that haunted him throughout his lifetime. Of course he was devastated by Joey’s death, as any parent would of course be, but he struggled before that in many ways. I was so happy for him that he went on to find love and begin a new life in Florida, but in the end, he could not escape himself. I pray he is now, finally, at peace.


      2. Dr. Lillian Glass, thank you for the compassionate/professional article… Perhaps it will be the catalyst to catapult David or someone else to seek professional help…Countess Maffetone


  11. You stated dennis cole died a horrible lonely death. Did he not have anyone at the end of his life. I hope David Hassellhoff got help he needs. Do you know how he is doing.


    1. No unfortunately Dennis was alone at the end of his life and he and his wife Ree Cole Lee were not together at the time of his death. We have not heard about David Hasselhoff and I agree and like you hope he got the help he needed.


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