SINGER AND POP ICON
DAVID CASSIDY GONE AT 67
David Cassidy, born David Bruce Cassidy, on April 12, 1950 had a music and acting career that spanned almost five decades. He broke box office records and sold out some of the biggest arenas and stadiums in the world. As both a TV show celebrity and a solo recording artist, he released a total of twelve studio albums, three live albums, six compilation albums, two soundtrack albums and twenty-four singles which sold millions around the world.
To his fans of the early 70’s, David Cassidy was immortal. It was said he had a fan base bigger than Elvis or The Beatles and his pictures were postered on almost every teen's bedroom wall. Every one of his fans adored him and hoped to be only his. His phenomenal success, or, Cassidymania, as it was called, began with his role as Keith Partridge, the lead singer of The Partridge Family, a music group on the ABC network TV sitcom which ran 96 Episodes from September 1970 thru March 1974 that his fans watched every week religiously.
On Tuesday, November 21st, David Cassidy, age 67, died of multiple organ failure while surrounded by family members. It was reported the weekend before his death, that he was in ICU and had been hospitalized for liver and kidney failure. Cassidy, who was also suffering from dementia, leaves behind his daughter Katie Cassidy, his son, Beau Cassidy, and half brothers Shaun, Ryan and Patrick Cassidy.
Upon the news of his death, musicians, entertainers and fans began posting messages of love and condolences on social media including; Marie Osmond, Brian Wilson, Glora Gaynor and Rick Springfield. His TV show mother and real-life Stepmother, Shirley Jones paid tribute stating, "I will treasure the years we spent working and growing together.” Jones, who is 83 years old, told Entertainment Tonight, “I will also find solace knowing that David is now with his dad,” actor Jack Cassidy, to whom she was married for 19 years.
To fans like myself, Cassidy, the biggest teen idol of the early 70's, and will be remembered most for his infamous shag haircut, those sultry hazel eyes, a beautiful smile, and such hit songs as "I Think I Love You" and "Cherish". Cassidy's mega stardom was mostly attributed his TV persona, smiling poster pin ups, and the lyric-friendly songs that he sang. At 20 years old, Cassidy, who played the TV family group's young heartthrob, ironically became one of the biggest pop icons of that decade.
In addition to Cassidy and Shirley Jones, the touring musical family of a post Folk era included actors Danny Bonaduce and Susan Dey along with Brian Foster who replaced Jeremy Gelbwaks and Suzanne Crough. They were all key members of the cast but unlike Cassidy and Jones, they lip-synced. The Partridge Family was loosely based on a real-life musical family, The Cowsills from Rhode Island who sang in harmonies and were popular in the late 60's.
The Partridge Family released a total of eight studio albums and eleven singles from 1970 to 1973 and five compilation albums from 1972 to 2005. The debut single, "I Think I Love You," composed by songwriter Tony Romeo which featured Cassidy on lead vocals and Jones on background vocals was a number one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and charted globally. The other chart-topping singles included; “Doesn’t Somebody Want To Be Wanted,” ”I Woke Up In Love This Morning,” ”Breaking Up Is Hard To Do,” "It's One of Those Nights," and "I'll Meet You Halfway".
David Cassidy, the solo artist, released fourteen studio and live solo albums from 1972 to 2008, nine compilations and two soundtracks; one for the musical Blood Brothers, in 1995 featuring Cassidy, his brother Shaun Cassidy, and Petula Clark, and for EFX in 1997, the Las Vegas Strip production which Cassidy headlined.
His debut album, Cherish, was released in February 1972 and was designed as a project by Partridge Family musical producer Wes Farrell to break Cassidy out as a solo star. It did just that and the album, which was Cassidy's most successful, reached Number 15 on the Billboard charts. Cassidy's other big hits included; “Cherish,” Could It Be Forever,” "How Can I Be Sure,” ”Rock Me Baby” and “Lyin’ to Myself".
In one of his biggest performances of his career, and as my first concert and most memorable, David Cassidy performed live at a sold out show attended by 20,650 excited females (and their mothers) at Madison Square Garden on March 11, 1972. (I remember getting mad at all the screaming fans because I couldn’t hear David sing the words). Born in New York City, Cassidy's mother, Evelyn Ward and his grandparents were all in attendance. Over the constant waves of screams and hysteria with some fans as young as 8 years old like myself, Cassidy enthusiastically belted out his hits; "I Can Feel Your Heartbeat" "Doesn't Somebody Want to Be Wanted" "I Woke Up In Love This Morning" "I'll Meet You Halfway" and closed with, "Cherish" a word he helped define. In non-stop motion, moving and swaying on stage in a white one-piece fringed, he sang the songs that every one of his fans knew word by word.
After countless covers on teen magazines with built in pin-up posters, a bare-chested (seemingly naked) Cassidy was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone in May of that same year. This cover story was different as it went beyond his role of Keith Partridge and embraced David, as the singer, actor and songwriter.
I had the chance to meet David Cassidy briefly when I worked in the music industry. He was invited to speak on the New Music Seminar’s artist panel along with Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Ice Cube at the Marriort Marquis in Times Square, New York in 1990. Cassidy, now 40 years old but his youthful image intact, had just released a new album entitled David Cassidy. His single, "Lyin' to Myself" would make it's way into the American Top 40 charts. I met him at a private VIP party for Cream Magazine. I told him how he was my first concert (but didn’t reveal he was also my first crush) and that maybe because of him, that’s why I was inspired to work in the music business. He seemed grateful and polite and he thanked ME.
Through it all, Cassidy had claimed he never had control over his early fame and in the final years of his life. In a 1993 interview on the Arsenio Hall Show with Bonaduce and Jones, Cassidy said that he actually felt he was the living antithesis of Keith Partridge although Keith was all that mostly existed. Industry insiders say that throughout Cassidy's career, he never seemed truly happy on the inside. It's a tragic observation from someone who sang, "C'mon Get Happy" and uplifted millions.
In recent years, Cassidy's personal struggles began to go public with several incidences of driving under the influence (DUI) and inpatient rehabilitation.
Sadly, in February of this year, Cassidy revealed on Dr. Phil and to People Magazine, that he was suffering from dementia, a disease his mother and grandfather had, and that he was retiring from performing live.
On November 18, 2017, news surfaced that Cassidy has been hospitalized in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with organ failure, and was in critical condition. On the early evening of Tuesday, November 21st, Cassidy's publicist JoAnn Geffen confirmed his death, releasing a statement from his family; “On behalf of the entire Cassidy family, it is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our father, our uncle, and our dear brother, David Cassidy. David died surrounded by those he loved, with joy in his heart and free from the pain that had gripped him for so long. Thank you for the abundance and support you have shown him these many years.”
David Cassidy will forever be held close to the hearts of his fans who will always LOVE and CHERISH him and his songs.
He was the irresistable hearthrob that gave every young girl their first crush growing up in the early 70's. His infamous shag haircut, those sultry twinkling hazel eyes, a soft voice and that big beautiful smile is what made David Cassidy the most popular teen idol with a barrage of hit songs and a fan base bigger than Elvis or The Beatles.
His album and concert stats proved the same. He became the first personality to be merchandised globally. He broke box office records and sold out concerts in the largest arenas and stadiums in the world. He was the world’s highest paid performer by the age of 21. He released 14 studio and live albums that sold over a 30 million copies worldwide.
Confirmation of his death was reported late Tuesday, November 21st as fervent fans posted messages of love and condolences on social media. David Cassidy, age 67 died of organ failure surrounded by family members. Cassidy leaves behind his daughter Katie Cassidy and son, Beau Cassidy, half brothers Sean Cassidy, Ryan Cassidy and Patrick Cassidy and his ex-wife Sue Shifrin-Cassidy.
It all began with The Partridge Family, an ABC network TV show that ran 96 Episodes from September 1970 thru March 1974 about a family loosely based on a real-life musical family, The Cowsills from Rhode Island who sang in harmonies and were popular in the late 60's. The Partridge Family's pilot show became the highest rated pilot of its time.
Cassidy's mega stardom was solely attributed to the role he played as Keith Partridge and the lyric-friendly songs that young girls across America memorized every word to. At 20 years old, he and actress Shirley Jones, his stepmother in real life, played mother and son. Cassidy would play the family group's young heartthrob on the TV series, but life also imitated art, and he became one of the biggest pop icons of that decade.
In addition to Cassidy and Jones, the touring musical family of a post Folk era included actors Danny Bonaduce and Susan Dey along with Brian Foster who replaced Jeremy Gelbwaks and Suzanne Crough. They were all key members of the cast but unlike Cassidy and Jones, the others lip-synced.
A total of ten albums were released by The Partridge Family and David Cassidy released five solo albums during the series, selling more than a million copies each. His first solo album, Cherish, was released in February 1972 and was designed as a project by
Partridge Family musical producer Wes Farrell to break Cassidy out as a solo star. It did just that and the album reached No.15 on the Billboard charts.
The growing television poplularity of both the show and David Cassidy spawned seven chart-topping Partridge Family singles including in Billboard's Hot 100; “Doesn’t Somebody Want To Be Wanted,” ”I Woke Up In Love This Morning,” ”Breaking Up Is Hard To Do,” "It's One of Those Nights," "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do," "I'll Meet You Halfway," and the most successful, “I Think I Love You” which climed to #1 on the Pop charts in 1970. As a solo artist, Cassidy's hit singles included “Cherish,” ”Could It Be Forever,” ”How Can I Be Sure,” ”Rock Me Baby” and “Lyin’ to Myself" among others. His first solo album, "Cherish" released in 1972 was his most successful reaching #15 in the Billboard Top 200.
All along, however, Cassidy may have been haunted by the fame he had no control over. Cassidy's exhausting regimented schedule forced him to not only fight hard to stay awake, but he also struggled to keep his own identity. In a 1993 interview on the Arsenio Hall Show with Bonaduce and Jones, Cassidy claimed that he actually felt he was the living antithesis of Keith Partridge although at one time Keith was all that existed.
Performing live was what he enjoyed most. Cassidy hit the concert trail in 1971, with sold out stadium shows filled with screaming histerical fans. Over the decades, he continued to perform throughout the world, from New York to California, England, Australia, Germany to Japan
In one of his biggest performances of his career, David Cassidy performed live at a sold out show at Madison Square Garden on March 11, 1972. Born in New York City and raised in New York and New Jersey, Cassidy's mother, Evelyn Ward and his grandparents were all in attendance. Over the constant waves of screams and hysteria with some fans as young as 8 years old, Cassidy estatically belted out his hits; "I Can Feel Your Heartbeat" "Doesn't Somebody Want to Be Wanted" "I Woke Up In Love This Morning" "I'll Meet You Halfway" and closed with the Top 10 hit, "Cherish" a word he helped define. In non-stop motion, moving and swaying on stage in a white one-piece fringed outfit that prompted screams of exhileration, he sang the songs that every one of his fans knew word by word.
After countless covers on teen magazines with built in pin-up posters, a bare-chested Cassidy was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone in May of that same year. However, this cover story was different as it went beyond his role of Keith Partridge and embraced David, as the singer, actor and songwriter. The story also reported on the Madison Square Garden show attended by 20,650 excited females (and their mothers), his loyal audience, who never missed a Partridge Family episode, and who wallpapered their bedrooms with pictures and posters of him. Ironically, Cassidy is quoted in the story as saying; There'll be a time when this whole thing will be over....I'll feel really good when it's over. I have an image of myself in five years. I'm living on an island. The sky is blue, the sun is shining. And I'm smiling, I'm healthy, I'm a family man. I see my skin very brown and leathery, with a bit of growth on my face. My hair is really long, with a lot of grey.
Sadly, the image of himself in five years never came to be and would never come to be. Aging gracefully was not in his plans or his destiny. Not then, not now. Once again, David Cassidy may have become the antithesis of what he once desired from that Rolling Stone interview. By 60 years of age, his life was unravelling with several arrests for DUI's and and the breakup of his last and third marriage. Physically, the features that made him famous had faded and were gone. Cassidy was no longer recognizable, especially, those twinkling eyes now appeared swollen and tired and his famous hair was now thinned and receding.
Cassidy may have been haunted by something he said he would never get over. In May of 1974 at his concert in London, a 14 year old girl suffered cardiac arrest and later died while 800 others were injured in a crush toward the stage. Cassidy, who sent flowers and contacted the family, stated at the time that this would haunt him until the day he died. The following month, Cassidy announced he was taking a break from touring and recording. Subsequently, three months later, the last episode of The Partridge Family, was now at the bottom of the ratings.
It wasn't until 1978 that Cassidy made his first return to acting and landed his own television drama, David Cassidy - Man Undercover, in 1978, for one season. Cassidy's credits include; the telefilm A Chance to Live, which earned him an Emmy nomination as Best Dramatic Actor. He also found work in musical theater performing in regional and touring productions; Little Johnny Jones, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor, in London's West End production of Time and returned to Broadway in Blood Brothers alongside his half-brother Shawn Cassidy, son of his late father Jack Cassidy and Shirley Jones, where he broke box office records
In 1986, George Michael cited Cassidy as a major career influence. In 1990, Cassidy, now 40 years old, released a new album entitled David Cassidy, and was invited to speak on the Artist panel at the New Music Seminar in New York City along with Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Ice Cube. His single, "Lyin' to Myself" made it's way into the American Top 40 charts. In concert performances that year, Cassidy's Partridge Family brother, Danny Bonaduce, was his opening act.
In 1995, he hosted VH1's show 8-Track Flashback. In 1996, he had a successful run in Las Vegas, with the show EFX. In 1999, Cassidy served as co-writer and co-producer for the Vegas production, The Rat Pack Is Back!. The following year, he starred in At the Copa, which he composed with his third wife, Sue Shifrin-Cassidy.
He released another album in 1998, entitled Old Trick New Dog and hit the Adult contemporary charts with the single, "No Bridge I Wouldn't Cross".
By 2001, Cassidy's original audience came back for him, with the release of his CD, Then and Now, featuring re-recordings of old songs. The recording went platinum and Cassidy looked vibrant, healthy and energetic while his voice remained strong and untarnished.
In 2005, Cassidy played a manager in the film Popstar. He also wrote a memoir that was released in 2007 entitled, Could It Be Forever? My Story. In 2009, he co-starred alongside his half-brother Patrick in an ABC Family comedy series, Ruby and The Rockits, a show created by their brother Shaun.
In 2011, Cassidy was one of the featured contestants on Celebrity Apprentice in which his daughter, actress Katie Cassidy fathered from his relationship with model Sherry Williams, made an appearance. By 2013, Cassidy had accumulated a total of 30 television roles since 1969.
But Cassidy's personal struggles also began to accumulate and go public. In 2008, Cassidy publicly admitted he had an alcohol and substance abuse problem. On November 3, 2010 at 60 years of age, Cassidy was arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Florida after police found a half empty bottle of bourbon in his 2008 Mercedes. His mug shot went public. In August 2013 he was arrested in New York and in January of 2014, he had his third drunken driving charge in Los Angeles. He was ordered to go to inpatient rehabilitation and was put on probation for five years.
In May 2015, Cassidy was cited on charges of leaving the scene of a car accident, expired tags, improper lane change, and driving on a suspended license in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. That year, Cassidy filed for bankruptcy and in 2016, he became divorced from his third wife, the mother of his son Beau, who he married in 1991.
In February of this year, he revealed on Dr. Phil and to People Magazine, that he was suffering from dementia, a disease his grandfather and mother had. Cassidy also announced that he would retire from performing.
On David Cassidy's official website, www.DavidCassidy.com, he posted on February 25, that he isn’t retiring, but that he still wants to hit the studio and make another record. However, the grueling days of "back-to-back-to-back" shows are growing too much for him. On August 9th, he posted about the passing of his old friend Glen Campbell who suffered from the same disease that killed his mother and grandfather.
His last message was posted on May 5, 2017...I’m about to go to Chicago in the next 2 weeks to record ... I truly believe this will be my last recording, and it’s been something I’ve been thinking about for many years. Happy Trails, DC
On November 18, 2017, news first surfaced that Cassidy has been hospitalized in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with organ failure, and was in critical condition in a medically-induced coma. When false reports of his death began to surface on Facebook, his son Beau posted on November 19;
Unfortunately David is very sick. However he is getting the support he needs, surrounded by the people he loves most.
Thank you very much for your love and concern that you have expressed in your messages to him.
On the early evening of Tuesday, November 21st, Cassidy's publicist JoAnn Geffen confirmed his death, with a statement from his family. “On behalf of the entire Cassidy family, it is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our father, our uncle, and our dear brother, David Cassidy. David died surrounded by those he loved, with joy in his heart and free from the pain that had gripped him for so long. Thank you for the abundance and support you have shown him these many years.”
David Cassidy will forever be held close to the hearts of his fans who will always LOVE and CHERISH him and his songs.
FAST FACTS ABOUT DAVID CASSIDY'S PERSONAL LIFE
David Bruce Cassidy, born April 12, 1950 at Flower Fifth Avenue Hospital in New York City, the son of singer and actor Jack Cassidy and actress Evelyn Ward.
He spent his early years being raised by his maternal grandparents in a middle-class neighborhood in West Orange, New Jersey. In 1956, his father married singer and actress Shirley Jones, and they had David's three half-brothers: Shaun (1958), Patrick (1962), and Ryan (1966).
In 1968, David moved into the rental home of Jack Cassidy and Shirley Jones in Irvington, New York, where his half-brothers also resided. David remained there until his career began to flourish and moved to Los Angeles.
Cassidy's father Jack is credited with setting his son up with his first manager. Being underage at 19 upon being signed to The Partridge Family Cassidy was on a flat-rate contract with Columbia Pictures. At age 21, he renegotiated his contract to include payment of royalties for sales of recordings and merchandise, as well as control over his recording career.
Cassidy's first wife was actress Kay Lenz, whom he married on April 3, 1977 and divorced in the early 1980s
His second wife was horse breeder Meryl Tanz, whom he married in 1984. His marriage ended in the mid 1980s.
He has a daughter, actress Katie Cassidy, born in 1986, from a relationship with Sherry Williams Benedon.
Cassidy married Sue Shifrin on March 30, 1991, his third and her second marriage. They had one child, Beau,in 1991. In August 2013 the couple had separated, with Shifrin filing for divorce in February 2014.
Cassidy has lived in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, since 2002.