Paul Michael Glaser: A Journey of Resilience and Hope (2023)

Detective Dave Starsky, a character known to many, brought to life by the veteran actor Paul Michael Glaser, was a household name in the 1970s. However, there's much more to Paul's life than his on-screen persona. This article delves into the personal journey of Paul Michael Glaser, marked by love, loss, and unwavering resilience.

A Fateful Meeting: Paul and Elizabeth Glaser's Love Story

In 1980, Paul Michael Glaser's life took a dramatic turn when he married Elizabeth Glaser, whom he had met in 1974. Their love story began on a seemingly ordinary day, as their cars pulled up next to each other on Little Santa Monica Boulevard. Little did they know that their union would lead to a profound and challenging chapter in their lives.

Tragedy Strikes: A Mother's Sacrifice

The Glaser family was graced with the arrival of their first child, daughter Ariel, in August 1981. However, this joyous period soon transformed into a heart-wrenching ordeal. Two months after Ariel's birth, Elizabeth Glaser experienced a life-threatening hemorrhage while giving birth. Tragically, this occurred in the early days of the AIDS epidemic in the United States. In need of a blood transfusion, Elizabeth contracted HIV, a diagnosis that would have profound implications for her family.

A Devastating Discovery: A Mother's Unwavering Love

The harsh reality of the HIV/AIDS epidemic hit the Glaser family with full force in 1986 when their daughter Ariel fell ill and tested positive for HIV. As if this weren't agonizing enough, their son Jake, born in October 1984, was also found to be HIV positive. The family's resilience was put to the ultimate test as they faced a future marred by uncertainty and pain.

Unimaginable Loss: Remembering Ariel and Elizabeth

In 1988, the Glaser family was dealt a heartbreaking blow when 7-year-old Ariel lost her battle with AIDS. This was followed by another devastating loss in 1994 when Elizabeth Glaser, an activist in the fight against pediatric AIDS, passed away at the age of 47. The unimaginable pain of losing a wife and a daughter was a reality that Paul had to navigate.

A Father's Resilience: Paul Michael Glaser's Journey

In an August 2013 interview, Paul Michael Glaser candidly shared his perspective on loss, grief, and resilience. Despite the profound challenges he had faced, he chose not to succumb to bitterness or anger. He emphasized the ongoing nature of his experiences and how he chooses to relate to them.

A Spiritual Perspective: Finding Healing and Growth

When asked about the role of spirituality in dealing with grief, Paul acknowledged its significance. The journey with HIV/AIDS had exposed him to immense helplessness and loss, compelling him to make a choice. He reflected on the opportunity for personal growth and the expansion of his capacity for love that arose from the depths of his experiences.

The Power of Awareness: Helping Others Heal

Paul's journey led him to a mission called The Power of Awareness, which he now shares with others. This program aims to help individuals understand their fears, empowering them to confront and transcend feelings of helplessness. By helping others heal, Paul's own healing journey takes on deeper meaning.

A Survivor's Tale: Jake Glaser's Triumph Over HIV

Remarkably, Jake, Paul and Elizabeth Glaser's only son, defied the odds and survived his HIV diagnosis. Born before the availability of effective treatments, Jake's journey was fraught with challenges. He remembers the moment he realized his mother had passed away, and the profound impact it had on him. Survivor's guilt weighed heavily on his younger years, but he eventually found strength in carrying on his late mother's legacy through the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF).

A Second Chapter: Paul's Marriage and Family

After the challenges of the "Starsky & Hutch" era and the profound losses he endured, Paul Michael Glaser found love again. He married film producer Tracy Barone in 1996, and together they welcomed their daughter Zoe in 1997. However, their marriage ended in divorce in 2007, and Paul chose not to dwell on the past.

Continuing His Creative Journey: Paul's Pursuits

As he navigated the passage of time, Paul remained active in his pursuits. He continued to act and explore his talents behind the camera, even venturing into the world of digital art and painting. With age, he remained energetic and youthful, viewing age as a mere number.

Legacy of Inspiration: Sharing Art and Stories

As a grandfather, Paul Michael Glaser cherishes the moments spent with his loved ones. He shared a photo on Instagram in February 2021, highlighting the importance of passing along inspiration, craft, and stories to the next generation. His life, marked by love, loss, resilience, and hope, serves as an enduring source of inspiration for many.


Paul Michael Glaser's life journey is a testament to the strength of the human spirit in the face of adversity. His story, marked by love, loss, and resilience, is a source of inspiration and hope for those who face their own challenges. In the wake of tragedy, he chose to grow, heal, and continue making a positive impact on the world. Paul's legacy is a reminder of the power of the human spirit to triumph over even the most profound hardships.

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