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David Cassidy

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Title: David Cassidy  
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Subject: The Partridge Family, The Definitive Collection (Partridge Family album), Shirley Jones, I Write the Songs, Bell Records
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David Cassidy

David Cassidy
Publicity photo for The Partridge Family, 1972
Born David Bruce Cassidy
(1950-04-12) April 12, 1950
New York, New York, U.S.
Occupation Actor, singer, songwriter, musician
Years active 1956–present
Home town West Orange, New Jersey
  • Kay Lenz (m. 1977–83)
  • Meryl Tanz (m. 1984–)
  • Sue Shifrin (m. 1991)
Children Katie Cassidy (with Sherry Williams Benedon)[1]
Beau Cassidy (with Sue Shifrin-Cassidy)[2][3]
Parent(s) Jack Cassidy
Evelyn Ward
Musical career
Genres Pop
Instruments Vocals, guitar
Labels Bell, Arista, Enigma, RCA, Slamajama, Scotti Bros.
Associated acts The Partridge Family
Website .comdavidcassidy

David Bruce Cassidy (born April 12, 1950)[4] is an American actor, singer, songwriter and guitarist. He is widely known for his role as Keith Partridge in the 1970s musical-sitcom The Partridge Family, which led to him becoming one of pop culture's most celebrated teen idols and pop singers of the 1970s. He has since had a career in both acting and music.


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
  • Personal life 3
    • Alcohol problem 3.1
      • Legal issues 3.1.1
    • Activism 3.2
  • Portrayals in media 4
  • Discography 5
  • Filmography 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Early life

Cassidy was born at Flower Fifth Avenue Hospital in New York City, the son of singer and actor Jack Cassidy and actress Evelyn Ward. His father was of half-Irish and half-German ancestry, and his mother was of mostly Colonial American descent, along with smaller amounts of Irish and Swiss.[5] Some of his mother's ancestors were among the founders of Newark, New Jersey.[5]

As his parents were frequently touring on the road, he spent his early years being raised by his maternal grandparents in a middle-class neighborhood in West Orange, New Jersey.[6] In 1956, he found out from neighbors' children that his parents had been divorced for over two years and had not told him.[7] David's parents had decided because he was at such a young age, it would be better for his emotional stability to not discuss it at that time. They were gone often with theater productions and home life remained the same.

In 1956, his father married singer and actress Shirley Jones, and three half-brothers were born: Shaun (1958), Patrick (1962) and Ryan (1966). In 1968, after completing one final session of summer school to obtain credits necessary to get a high school diploma, David moved into the rental home of Jack Cassidy and Shirley Jones in Irvington, New York where his half-brothers also resided.[8] David remained there seeking fame as an actor/musician while simultaneously working half-days in the mailroom of a textile firm.[9] He moved out when his career began to flourish.

Cassidy's father Jack is credited with setting his son up with his first manager. After signing with Universal Studios in 1969, Jack introduced him to former table tennis champion and close friend Ruth Aarons, who later found her niche as a talent manager, given her theater background.[10] Aarons had represented Jack and Shirley Jones for several years prior, and would later represent Cassidy's half-brother Shaun. Aarons became an authority figure and close friend to Cassidy, and would prove to be the fighting force behind his on-screen success. After making small wages from Screen Gems for his work on The Partridge Family during season one, Aarons discovered a loophole in his contract and renegotiated it with far superior terms, and a four-year duration, a rare stipulation at the time.[11]


On January 2, 1969, Cassidy made his professional debut in the Broadway musical The Fig Leaves Are Falling. It closed after four performances[12] but a casting director saw the show and asked Cassidy to make a screen test. In 1969, he moved to Los Angeles.[12]

After signing with Universal Studios in 1969, Cassidy was featured in episodes of the TV series Ironside, Marcus Welby, M.D., Adam-12 and Bonanza. In 1970, he took the part of Keith Partridge, son of Shirley Partridge, who was played by Cassidy's real stepmother and series' lead, Shirley Jones. The Partridge Family series creator Bernard Slade and producers Paul Junger Witt and Robert "Bob" Claver did not care whether Cassidy could sing, knowing only that his androgynous good looks would guarantee success. But shortly after production began, Cassidy convinced music producer Wes Farrell that he was good enough and he was promoted to lead singer for the show's recordings. Once "I Think I Love You" became a hit, Cassidy began work on solo albums as well. Within the first year he had produced his own single, "Cherish" (from the album of the same title), which reached No. 9 in the US, No. 2 in the UK and No.1 in Australia and New Zealand. He began tours that featured Partridge tunes and his own hits. Though he strove to become a respected rock musician along the lines of Mick Jagger or Alice Cooper, his channel to stardom launched him into the ranks of teen idol, a brand he loathed until much later in life when he managed to come to terms with his bubblegum pop beginnings.

Cassidy in 1974

Ten albums by The Partridge Family and five solo albums were produced during the show with most selling more than a million copies each. Internationally, Cassidy's solo career eclipsed the already phenomenal success of The Partridge Family. He became an instant drawcard with spectacular sellout concert successes in major arenas around the world. These concerts produced mass hysteria resulting in the media coining the term "Cassidymania". By way of example, he played to two sellout crowds of 56,000 each at the Houston Astrodome in Texas over one weekend in 1972.[13] His concert in New York's Madison Square Garden sold out in one day and resulted in riots after the show.[14] His concert tours of the UK sold out and included six sellout concerts at Wembley Stadium over one weekend in 1973. In Australia in 1974, the mass hysteria was such that there were calls to have him deported from the country, especially after the madness at his 33,000 audience concert at Melbourne Cricket Ground.[15][16]

Cassidy performing in Hamburg, 1973

A turning point in his live concerts (while still filming The Partridge Family) was a gate stampede which killed a teenage girl. At a show in London's White City Stadium on May 26, 1974, 650 were injured in a crush at the front of the stage. Thirty were taken to the hospital, and one, 14-year-old Bernadette Whelan, died on May 30 from injuries.[17] The show was the penultimate date on a world tour. A deeply affected Cassidy faced the press, trying to make sense of what had happened. Out of respect for the family and to avoid turning the girl's funeral into a media circus, Cassidy did not attend the service, although he spoke to Whelan's parents and sent flowers. Cassidy stated at the time that this would haunt him until the day he died.[18][19][20]

Cassidy's 1994 autobiography, C'mon Get Happy: Fear And Loathing On The Partridge Family Bus, provides an account of most aspects of his fame, including contracts, money and his fanatical worldwide fan following.

--The New Musical Experience Magazine, October 1972.[21]

By this point, Cassidy had decided to quit both touring and acting in The Partridge Family, concentrating instead on recording and song-writing. International success continued, mostly in Great Britain, Germany and Japan, when he released three well-received solo albums on RCA in 1975 and 1976. Cassidy became the first recording artist to have a hit with "I Write the Songs", a Top 20 record in Great Britain before the song became Barry Manilow's signature tune. Cassidy's recording was produced by the song's author-composer, Bruce Johnston of The Beach Boys.

In 1978, Cassidy starred in an episode of Police Story titled "A Chance To Live," for which he received an Emmy nomination.[22] NBC created a show based on it, called David Cassidy: Man Under Cover, but it was canceled after one season. (A decade later, the successful Fox series 21 Jump Street used the same plot, with different youthful-looking police officers infiltrating a high school.)

In 1985, music success continued with the Romance. These went gold in Europe and Australia and Cassidy supported them with a sellout tour of the UK, which resulted in the Greatest Hits Live compilation of 1986. Michael cited Cassidy as a major career influence and interviewed Cassidy for David Litchfield's prestigious Ritz Newspaper.[23]

Cassidy returned to the American Top 40 with his 1990 single "Lyin' To Myself," released on Enigma Records. In 1998, he had an AC hit with "No Bridge I Wouldn't Cross" from his album Old Trick, New Dog. His 2001 album Then And Now went platinum internationally and returned Cassidy to the Top 5 of the UK album charts for the first time since 1974.

Cassidy has performed in musical theatre. In 1981, he toured in a revival of a pre-Broadway production of Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942), when James Cagney sings "Give My Regards to Broadway" and "The Yankee Doodle Boy".) However, Cassidy received negative reviews, and he had been replaced by another former teen idol, Donny Osmond,[24] by the time the show reached Broadway.[25] Cassidy, in turn, was himself a replacement for the lead in the original 1982 Broadway production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.[26] He appeared in London's West End production of Time and returned to Broadway in Blood Brothers alongside Petula Clark and his half-brother, Shaun Cassidy. In concert performances in 1990, Cassidy hired his recalcitrant TV brother Danny Bonaduce as his warm-up act. In 1995, he hosted the VH1 show 8-Track Flashback, which ran until 1998. In 1996, he replaced Michael Crawford in the Las Vegas show EFX, re-writing it into one of the Strip's favorite shows – although Cassidy was forced to resign after he injured his foot during a performance. He also created The Rat Pack is Back, in which he made guest appearances as Bobby Darin, which ran successfully. In 2000, he wrote and appeared in the Las Vegas show At the Copa with Sheena Easton, as both the young and old versions of the lead character, Johnny Flamingo. In 2005, Cassidy played the manager of Aaron Carter's character in the film Popstar. In 2006, as well as performing with Peter Furniss and Thomas Bowles, he made a guest appearance for BBC Children in Need performing live, then assisting Terry Wogan collecting donations from the studio audience.

He co-starred alongside his brother Patrick in a 2009 ABC Family short-lived comedy series titled Ruby & The Rockits, a show created by his half-brother Shaun.[27]

Cassidy was one of the contestants on Celebrity Apprentice in 2011,[28] in which his daughter Katie Cassidy made a brief appearance at her father's request. He was the first to be fired. In the years since then, Cassidy has maintained a regular tour schedule with concert appearances across the USA and the UK.

In 1989, he co-wrote the song "Prayin' 4 a Miracle" with John Wetton and Sue Shifrin. Wetton released the song on his band Asia's album Then & Now the year after.

Cassidy has written a memoir that was published in the UK in March 2007. Could It Be Forever? My Story gives details of his personal life.[29]

Personal life

Cassidy's first wife was actress Kay Lenz, whom he married on April 3, 1977,[30][31][32] and divorced on December 28, 1983,[33] although one reference claims 1982.[34]

His second wife was horse breeder Meryl Tanz, whom he married in 1984.[4] They met in 1974 at a Lexington, Kentucky horse sale.[35] This marriage ended in 1985,[4] or 1986.[34]

He has a daughter, actress Katie Cassidy, born in 1986, from a relationship with Sherry Benedon.[36]

Cassidy married Sue Shifrin on March 30, 1991, his third and her second marriage. They had one child, Beau, in 1991.[37][38] In August 2013, Cassidy's Los Angeles publicist confirmed that the couple were separated, with Shifrin filing for divorce in February 2014.[37][38]

Cassidy has lived in Fort Lauderdale, Florida since 2002.[39] He filed for bankruptcy in 2015.[40][41][42]

Cassidy was featured on the January/February 2013 cover of Making Music Magazine to discuss his life and career.[43]

His decades-long friend, acting mentor and stepmother, Shirley Jones, has reported that Cassidy no longer has contact with her or his step-brothers. Jones said of Cassidy's alcoholic behavior combined with his legal battles, "We are just scared to death that we are going to wake up one morning and find out that he is dead on the floor." Jones also added: "David has not had a relationship with anyone in the family for years. We are sick over it!"[44]

Alcohol problem

In 2008, Cassidy publicly admitted he had an alcohol problem.[45]

Legal issues

He was arrested for driving under the influence in Florida on November 3, 2010,[46] and was arrested for DUI a second time in Schodack, New York in the early hours of August 21, 2013. He was pulled over after failing to dim his headlights as he passed a police car going in the opposite direction. After performing poorly on a field sobriety test, Cassidy was subjected to an alcohol breath test returning a blood alcohol level of 0.10, which is above the New York State legal limit of 0.08.[45] The arresting officer, named Tom Jones, reported that Cassidy was polite and courteous, and jokingly asked officer Jones "What's New Pussycat?" in reference to the 1965 hit song by the singer Tom Jones.[45] Cassidy was subsequently charged, taken to jail, and released several hours later on $2,500 bail. He faced felony charges because of his prior DUI in Florida in 2010.[47] In May 12, 2015, Cassidy was sentenced, on the charge of driving while intoxicated from 2013 in New York, to community service, a fine and other consequences including a suspended license for 6 months.[48][49]

Cassidy was arrested on suspicion of DUI in California on January 10, 2014 after he made an illegal right turn against a red light. He was held overnight in jail.[50] In that case, he was ordered to go to inpatient rehab and was put on probation for five years.[51][52]

Cassidy was cited in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on charges of leaving the scene of a car accident, expired tags, improper lane change and driving on a suspended license (his license was suspended for 6 months in the May 2015 sentencing of the New York case) on September 9, 2015.[53][54][39]


In 2011, Cassidy recorded a public service announcement for Alzheimer's research and prevention—due to his mother, Evelyn Ward, having the disease—and said that he will champion that cause whenever possible. He planned to address Congress in 2012.[55]

Cassidy is a long-time registered Democrat. Describing Republican candidates for president Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich as a panelist on The Colbert Report, Cassidy stated, "I believe the both of them are the most embarrassing, sad, pathetic... I mean, really, this is the best we can do?"[56]

Portrayals in media

In 1999, ABC produced a TV-movie biography based on The Partridge Family entitled, Come On Get Happy: The Partridge Family Story based on former co-star Danny Bonaduce's account behind the popular series and personal life regarding himself and Cassidy. Cassidy was portrayed by Rodney Scott and Bonaduce was portrayed by Shawn Pyfrom.

On January 9, 2000, NBC premiered a television movie based on the life and short-lived success of Cassidy entitled The David Cassidy Story. While the former TV biopic focuses on both Bonaduce and Cassidy's personal lives, this television film focused mainly on Cassidy's rise to fame and unconventional early life. In this film, Cassidy is portrayed by Andrew Kavovit.

In September 2011, Anchor Books released the novel I Think I Love You by Allison Pearson. Spanning 20 years, it chronicles Petra, a 13-year-old Welsh girl at the beginning of the book, who's infatuated with David Cassidy and then jumps to Petra's middle-aged years when she has a chance to meet Cassidy.[57]



Year Title Role Notes
1969 The Survivors Mike Episode: "Chapter Seven"
1969 Ironside Danny Goodson Episode: "Stolen on Demand"
1970 Adam-12 Tim Richmond Episode: "Log 24 A Rare Occasion"
1970 Bonanza Billy Burgess Episode: "The Law and Billy Burgess"
1970 Marcus Welby, M.D. Michael Ambrose Episode: "Fun and Games and Michael Ambrose"
1970 Medical Center Rick Lambert Episode: "His Brother's Keeper"
1970 Mod Squad Brad Johnson Episode: "The Loser"
1970 The F.B.I. Larry Wentworth Episode: "Fatal Impostor"
1970–74 The Partridge Family Keith Partridge 96 episodes
1978 Police Story Officer Dan Shay Episode: "A Chance to Live"
1978–79 David Cassidy: Man Under Cover Officer Dan Shay 10 episodes; also composer of theme music
1980 The Love Boat Ted Harmes 1 episode
1980 The Night the City Screamed David Greeley TV movie
1980/83 Fantasy Island Jeremy Todd / Danny Collier 2 episodes
1982 Matt Houston John Gordon Boyd Episode: "Joey's Here"
1983 Parade of Stars George M. Cohan TV movie
1983 Tales of the Unexpected Donald / David Episode: "Heir Presumptuous"
1988 Alfred Hitchcock Presents Joey Mitchell Episode: "Career Move"
1990 Instant Karma Reno
1990 The Spirit of '76 Adam-11
1991 Blossom Himself Episode: "A Rockumentary"
1991 The Flash Sam Scudder / Mirror Master Episode: "Done with Mirrors"
1992 The Ben Stiller Show David Cassidy Episode: "With Flea"
1995 The John Larroquette Show Jefferson Kelly Episode: "Wrestling Matches"; also composer of theme music
2003 Malcolm in the Middle Boone Vincent Episode: "Vegas"
2003 The Agency Everett Price Episode: "War, Inc."
2004 Kim Possible Roland Pond (voice) Episode: "Oh Boyz"
2005 Less Than Perfect Vince Episode: "Playhouse"
2005 Popstar Grant
2009 Ruby and the Rockits David Gallagher 10 episodes
2011 Celebrity Apprentice Himself/contestant 2 episodes
2013 CSI Crime Scene Investigation Peter Coe Episode: "Last Woman Standing"


  1. ^ "'"Katie Cassidy: 'Dad a heartthrob? It's a bit strange. Mail Online. Retrieved October 4, 2015. 
  2. ^ "David Cassidy & Wife Divorcing". Retrieved October 4, 2015. 
  3. ^ Juliet Rix. "David Cassidy: My family values". the Guardian. Retrieved October 4, 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c "David Cassidy Biography (1950-)". Retrieved 2014-02-11. 
  5. ^ a b "Megan Smolenyak: Should David Cassidy Have Let His Roots Show on Celebrity Apprentice?". Huffington Post. March 7, 2011. Retrieved May 5, 2012. 
  6. ^ Cassidy, David; Deffaa, Chip (1994). C'mon, Get Happy ... Fear and Loathing on the Partridge Family Bus. New York: Warner Books. p. 1.  
  7. ^ C'mon, Get Happy, p. 4
  8. ^ C'mon, Get Happy, p. 35
  9. ^ "David Cassidy: Naked Lunch Box". Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 4, 2015. 
  10. ^ "Ruth Aarons". Team USA. 
  11. ^ Cassidy, David (2007). Could it be Forever? My Story. London: Headline Publishing Group.  
  12. ^ a b C'mon, Get Happy, p. 43
  13. ^ "The 'new' David Cassidy steps out". August 16, 1975. Retrieved August 3, 2009. 
  14. ^ Heckman, Don (March 12, 1972). "Cassidy is Focus of New Pop Trend; "Partridge FAMILY" Star Puts Sensuality Into Singing". The New York Times. Retrieved August 3, 2009. 
  15. ^ "More Control Urged At Future Pop Concerts". The Age. March 13, 1974. Retrieved August 3, 2009. 
  16. ^ "David Cassidy is a Health Hazard". Ellensburg Daily Record. March 13, 1974. Retrieved January 11, 2014. 
  17. ^ C'mon, Get Happy, p. 188-190
  18. ^ "Cassidy Concert, Girl 14 Dies". The Age. May 30, 1974. Retrieved January 11, 2014. 
  19. ^ "Cassidy Fan Dies". The Sydney Morning Herald. May 31, 1974. Retrieved August 3, 2009. 
  20. ^ "Crushed To Death at a David Cassidy Concert". The Independent (London). May 23, 1999. Retrieved August 3, 2009. 
  21. ^ Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 243. CN 5585. 
  22. ^ Awards for "Police Story" (1973), Internet Movie Database
  23. ^ Litchfield, David (1985). "David Cassidy by  
  24. ^ C'mon, Get Happy, p. 221
  25. ^ The Broadway League (March 21, 1982). 'Little Johnny Jones'' (1982 revival)"'". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved October 14, 2010. 
  26. ^ 'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat'' cast replacements"'". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved October 14, 2010. 
  27. ^ "Cassidy Brothers Comedy Among New ABC Family Shows". New York Times. February 1, 2009. 
  28. ^ "". Retrieved 2015-08-25. 
  29. ^ Walls, Jeannette (7 March 2007). "Britney Spears has whole rehab wing to herself - TODAY Entertainment". MSNBC. Retrieved October 14, 2010. 
  30. ^ Nevada, Marriage Index 1956-2005) and divorced on 28 Dec 1983 (California, Divorce Index 1966-1984
  31. ^,,20085003,00.html
  32. ^ Park, Jeannie; Michael Alexander (November 20, 1989). "After Riding a Lifetime of Ups and Downs, Kay Lenz Hits Her Stride with a Role in Midnight Caller".  
  33. ^ California, Divorce Index 1966-1984
  34. ^ a b "David Cassidy Biography".  
  35. ^,,20085003,00.html
  36. ^ "Katie Cassidy: Biography".  
  37. ^ a b Mike Clary and Tonya Alanez (2013-08-25). "David Cassidy, despite spotlight from recent DWI arrest, known as low-key neighbor in Fort Lauderdale".  
  38. ^ a b "David Cassidy Wife files for Divorce".  
  39. ^ a b South Florida Sun-Sentinel (October 2, 2015). "David Cassidy charged with I-595 traffic incident". Retrieved October 4, 2015. 
  40. ^ WPLG. "David Cassidy says goodbye to 'place of refuge' in Fort Lauderdale". Local10. Retrieved October 4, 2015. 
  41. ^ "Home of bankrupt ex-teen heartthrob David Cassidy auctioned". Reuters. Retrieved October 4, 2015. 
  42. ^ "David Cassidy Files for Bankruptcy". Retrieved October 4, 2015. 
  43. ^ "David Cassidy: Showbiz Life". 2013-01-01. Retrieved 2014-09-11. 
  44. ^ "David Cassidy Stepmom Shirley Jones Family Scared To Death For His Life". 2015-10-15. Retrieved 22 October 2015. 
  45. ^ a b c Gardinier, Bob. 70s teen star Cassidy meets Officer Tom Jones"'". (Hearst Communications Inc.). Retrieved August 22, 2013. 
  46. ^ Martinez, Edecio. (November 4, 2010) David Cassidy Arrested: "Partridge Family" Star Accused of Drunk Driving in Fla. – Crimesider. CBS News. Retrieved on March 27, 2011.
  47. ^ Mandell, Andrea (August 21, 2013). "David Cassidy arrested for drunken driving". USA Today. Retrieved August 21, 2013. 
  48. ^ "David Cassidy DWI case ends with sentencing". Times Union. Retrieved October 4, 2015. 
  49. ^ "David Cassidy sentenced in Upstate New York drunken-driving case". Retrieved October 4, 2015. 
  50. ^ Merl, Jean (January 11, 2014). 70s heartthrob David Cassidy arrested on suspicion of DUI near LAX"'". Los Angeles Times. 
  51. ^ "David Cassidy Ordered Into Rehab After DUI Plea". Retrieved October 4, 2015. 
  52. ^ Alan Duke, CNN (March 24, 2014). "David Cassidy gets probation, rehab for DUI conviction". CNN. Retrieved October 4, 2015. 
  53. ^ "David Cassidy arrested for leaving scene of accident". Times Union. Retrieved October 4, 2015. 
  54. ^ Los Angeles Times (October 2, 2015). "David Cassidy facing hit-and-run charge in crash on the day his home was auctioned". Retrieved October 4, 2015. 
  55. ^ "Time to scream! David Cassidy comes to Lycian Centre". Times Herald-Record. October 21, 2011. 
  56. ^ "The Great Available Panel: John Harwood, Katrina vanden Heuvel and David Cassidy share their thoughts on Newt Gingrich's sex appeal, Mitt Romney's wealth and Connecticut's tacos". The Colbert Report. January 26, 2012. 
  57. ^ "I Think I Love You: A Novel: Allison Pearson: 9781400076918: Books". Retrieved 2015-08-25. 

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