David Cassidy was the Justin Bieber of the 70’s. Well, I don’t know. I take that back. I think Leif Garrett was more of the 70’s Bieber. Anyway, David Cassidy shot to fame when he played Keith Partridge in The Partridge Family. Cassidy was too old for me, but I remember seeing his face plastered all over my magazines. (I was in love with the first Chris Partridge, Jeremy Gelbwaks.) I did not pay attention to David Cassidy, though it was hard to ignore him since he was everywhere.
David Bruce Cassidy was born on April 12, 1950 in New York. Cassidy’s father was Jack Cassidy who later married Shirley Jones. Shirley Jones played mother to David Cassidy’s character in The Partridge Family and was his step-mom in real life. Shirley and Jack had three sons together. David’s half-brothers are Shaun, Patrick, and Ryan.
The role of Keith Partridge went to Cassidy not because of his musical abilities but because of his androgynous good looks. David was not aware that his step-mom was also in the show until after he won the role. He did not actually sing in the first couple of episodes because the producers were unaware that he could sing. There were ten Partridge Family albums and five solo albums released during the Partridge Family years.
When David wasn’t filming the show, he was on the road performing to sold out stadiums. Tragedy struck on May 26, 1974 when a 14-year-old girl was trampled to death at his concert in London. I believe this was a turning point for Cassidy. It was shortly after this that he quit acting and doing concerts. The fan’s death became an old tape in his mind that he could never erase.
- He had a hit with I Write the Songs before Barry Manilow (but Barry’s was a bigger hit).
- He won an Emmy for an episode of Police Story that he starred in in 1978.
- In 1972, he posed nude for a photo in Rolling Stone magazine in an attempt to break his squeaky-clean image.
- He toured in the pre-Broadway production of Little Johnny Jones in 1981. He received negative reviews and was replaced by another 70’s teen idol, Donny Osmond (speaking of squeaky-clean).
- David Cassidy has been married three times and has a daughter, Katie, with none of these wives.
- He has a son, Beau, with his third wife.
- He has several DUI’s and other run-ins with the law. I’m sure the old tape, his demon, had something to do with this.
He announced in February of 2017 that he has dementia, which his mother also suffered from. He retired from performing earlier the same year when he couldn’t remember the lyrics to his songs. I’ve seen Leif Garrett forget the lyrics to Surfin’ USA. I don’t think he has dementia.
As of this writing, David Cassidy is in critical condition with liver and kidney failure. The doctors say the end is near and family members have gathered at his bedside. I wish him a peaceful trip to the other side.
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