LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Everyone knows David Hasselhoff, right? The acting, singing former "Baywatch" star with a 30-year Hollywood career.
Think again. David Haseloff is a 27 year-old electrical technician and landscaper from a small Texas town who has never set foot in Los Angeles. That is, he never had until TV producers with their next big idea came calling.
Hasselhoff and Haseloff -- the latter has only one "s" in his surname -- trade lives and lifestyles for the first episode of the new CBS television series "Same Name", starting on Sunday.
Boxer Mike Tyson, comedienne Kathy Griffin and football star Reggie Bush are some of the other celebrities who trade places with their little-known namesakes in later episodes for the cross between "Wife Swap" and "The Simple Life".
Hasselhoff, 59, saw the program as a chance to show people the real man behind the TV image. As am electrical technician and landscaper, he gets to put his muscled physique to good use with several days of manual labor in Lake Jackson, Texas, and several nights of broken sleep caused by his namesake's young baby.
"When you are a David Hasselhoff, or a Bruce Willis or a Brad Pitt, people get a view of us from what we do on TV, or from the press," the actor told Reuters.
"So when I got an opportunity to go to Texas -- where a lot of my family lives -- I thought I would love to meet some other Hasselhoffs and see if they have the same values as we do. We are a very close family, and we have a lot of respect for the work ethic," he added.
The Texas Haseloff, who has had a lifetime of being teased about his name, got the keys to a Beverly Hills mansion, several flashy cars, the services of the actor's housekeeper, agent, bodyguard, personal trainer and personal assistant, and a night out in Los Angeles entertaining the David Hasselhoff fan club.
"I never thought being a celebrity would be so hard," he says on the show, adding that he previously imagined that stars simply sat around their mansions all day. "It's been fun but I have no desire to be a celebrity."
Away from the limelight, former "Knight Rider" star Hasselhoff is both awed by his new family's struggles to make ends meet and elated to meet dozens of assorted cousins, grandparents, uncles and children who share his famous name.
Hasselhoff said the swap was an eye-opening experience for both sides. But he added; "My conception of their life was not nearly as surprising as their conception of my life."
"They were surprised at all the travel, all the hard work, the boot camps, the voice classes, the agents and managers, the bad press, the good press, the stuff you have to endure in this business."
Although the two families changed lives for just a week, they appear to have formed a more lasting bond. Hasselhoff presented the family with several lasting mementos and tickets to one of his concerts in Germany, and he said the two men remain in touch.
"The paychecks are different but the bills are the same and the values and the hard work is the same. They are working for their family over there, and I keep hustling and working and reinventing myself for my kids," Hasselhoff said.
Editing by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte