AKA David Bruce Cassidy
Birthplace: Manhattan, NY
Location of death: Fort Lauderdale, FL
Cause of death: Liver Failure
Remains: Cremated (ashes scattered)
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Singer, Actor
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: The Partridge Family
David Cassidy has made it clear that he was never a child star. He started acting professionally when he was 18, fresh out of high school. Before playing the eldest son on The Partridge Family, he had trained at the Los Angeles Theater Company, had already performed on Broadway, and his resume included guest appearances on such dramas as Bonanza, Ironside, and The Mod Squad.
It remains an unresolved question how much nepotism was involved in Cassidy landing the Partridge Family role. When he auditioned, he did not know that Shirley Jones -- his stepmother -- had already been cast as the family's matriarch. Jones reportedly said nothing to the program's producers until they said they were seriously considering Cassidy, and they were worried about whether the family connection would be a problem. She answered that her stepson was a professional actor, and as such she expected no problems.
Cassidy was the show's breakout star, but he was not a prima donna. He liked his co-workers, and had a discreet affair with his TV sister, Susan Dey. But he hated the Partridge Family scripts and music, and unlike his Keith Partridge character, Cassidy had actually been raised in the 1960s, had been to Haight-Ashbury, and had smoked marijuana, and done mescaline, speed, LSD and heroin. Musically, he preferred rock'n'roll that had something to say over the saccharine sound of the Partridges. He reportedly once went to the offices of Tiger Beat magazine and pleaded with them not to put his picture on the cover, as he wanted to be an actor, not another Bobby Sherman-esque teen heartthrob.
Cassidy tried to depurify his image by posing nude for Annie Leibovitz, for photos accompanying a Rolling Stone interview where he was harshly critical of the Partridges' music. He was also understandably angered that he received none of the lucrative cash flow generated by Partridge Family lunchpails and other merchandise. "I sold a half billion dollars in licensed merchandise in the '70s that's probably worth $10 billion now", Cassidy said in 2004. "I got $5,000 from that because production companies and studios owned my likeness."
He soon began touring solo, performing Partridge songs and other pop music before huge crowds of screaming adolescents, earning more from touring than from the TV show. By the time he was 21, he was the music world's highest-paid solo performer, with non-Partridge hits including "Cherish" and "Could It Be Forever". By the time he was 24, The Partridge Family was over.
In a 1974 concert at London's White City Stadium, billed as Cassidy's last public performance, thousands of teenaged girls crushed against each other to get closer to the stage. In an audio tape of the concert, Cassidy at the microphone can barely be heard over the screams of his fans, as he begs the audience to "get back, get back". After two days in a coma, one 14-year-old fan died of traumatic asphyxia, crushed to death under thousands of pounds of fellow fans. Five hundred more fans were injured, dozens enough to be hospitalized.
After The Partridge Family, Cassidy endured two unhappy marriages, had countless sexual encounters with groupies, had drug and alcohol problems, starred on Broadway in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Blood Brothers, continued performing music, and wrote his tell-all autobiography, C'mon, Get Happy.
He starred as TV's Man Undercover in 1978, and spoofed himself in the 1990 time travel comedy Spirit of '76. He wrote the theme song for the 1990s sitcoms The John Larroquette Show and Ask Harriet. In 1996, he replaced an injured Michael Crawford in the glittery Las Vegas production EFX, and played the role until 1999. In a 2004 promotional event, he officiated at the mock-marriage of a strawberry and a Cheerio. More recently, he has made news for a series of drunk driving arrests.
Father: Jack Cassidy (actor, b. 5-Mar-1927, d. 12-Dec-1976)
Mother: Evelyn Ward (actress, d. 2012)
Mother: Shirley Jones (actress, stepmother, m. Jack Cassidy)
Brother: Shaun Cassidy (half-brother, actor, b. 27-Sep-1958)
Brother: Patrick Cassidy (half-brother, actor, b. 4-Jan-1962)
Brother: Ryan Cassidy (half-brother, set decorator, b. 23-Feb-1966)
Girlfriend: Meredith Baxter (actress, dated briefly 1969)
Slept with: Susan Dey (one-night stand)
Girlfriend: Sherry Benedon (model, dated in 1980s)
Daughter: Katie Cassidy (b. 25-Nov-1986, with Benedon)
Wife: Kay Lenz (actress, b. 1953, m. 3-Apr-1977, div. 1983)
Wife: Meryl-Ann Tanz (horse breeder, m. 15-Dec-1984, div. 1985)
Wife: Sue Shifrin (songwriter, Al Jarreau's "So Good", b. 1949, m. 30-Mar-1991, sep. 2014)
Son: Beau Devin Cassidy (b. 8-Feb-1991, with Shifrin)
High School: Rexford High School, Beverly Hills, CA (1968)
University: Los Angeles City College (dropped out)
The Partridge Family
Bankruptcy (filed 12-Feb-2015)
Driving While Intoxicated St. Lucie County, FL (arrested 3-Nov-2010, no contest plea)
Driving While Intoxicated Schodack, NY (arrested, 21-Aug-2013)
Driving While Intoxicated Los Angeles, CA (arrested, 10-Jan-2014, no contest plea)
Hit and Run Fort Lauderdale, FL (arrested, 9-Sep-2015)
Risk Factors: Smoking, Marijuana, LSD, Heroin
The Partridge Family Keith Partridge (1970-74)
The Apprentice Contestant (2011)
FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
The Spirit of '76 (12-Oct-1990)
Instant Karma (27-Apr-1990) · Reno
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