Every decade had its share of friendly rivalry, in the sixties it was the Beatles and Stones, in the eighties it was Spandau Ballet and Duran Duran and in the nineties it was Oasis and Blur, but in the seventies it was either David or Donny. One or the other adorned many a young girl’s bedroom wall and now the former has gone.
Sadly in the era of fake news, he became the latest in a line of people whose deaths have been announced prematurely. He became the heartthrob of the seventies TV show the Partridge Family in his role of Keith Partridge, the son of Shirley Partridge who was portrayed by his real stepmother Shirley Jones.
Cassidy was born in Manhattan, New York in April 1950 and both hit parents were actors, his mother was Evelyn Ward and his father, who was also a singer, was Jack Cassidy. Because his parents who often on the road filming or singing David was raised much of the time by his grandparents. When he was six he found out that his parents had divorced some two years earlier but he wasn’t informed of this. His father then married the actress Shirley Jones.
In early 1969, he made is acting debut in The Fig Leaves Are Falling on Broadway, but closed after just four shows. Fortunately for David, in that four days a TV casting director saw him, auditioned him and offered him some TV work. For this he had to move to Los Angeles and then appeared in the programmes, Ironside and Bonanza. The following year he was offered the role in the Partridge Family.
David was blessed with good looks and it was a fairly safe bet that if was given songs to sing he would made the chart. The first was I Think I Love You which was credited as The Partridge Family Starring Shirley Jones – featuring David Cassidy which made number 18 in the UK. The song’s writer, Tony Romeo, was asked to write another and came up with It’s One Of Those Nights (Yes Love) which fared better by peaking at number 11. David then began having hits under how own name as well as with the Partridge Family; Could it Be Forever coupled with Cherish made number two and that was followed by a cover of Neil Sedaka’s Breaking up Is Hard to Do. He finally hit the top spot in 1972 with How Can I Be Sure and again the following year with Daydreamer backed with The Puppy Song. David also turned his hand to production as his next four hits, If I Didn’t Care, Please Please Me, I Write The Songs and Darlin’ were all co-produced by him.
In 1974, an incident at a concert at London’s White City Stadium haunted David for the rest of his life. There was a stampede and over 800 people were crushed at the front of the stage and a 14 year-old girl died a few days later as a result of a heart attack. It transpired that she did have an existing heart condition. It was at this point David decided to give up touring and acting to concentrate on a recording career. He returned to small acting part three years later.
All went quiet for about four years and David announced he was broke. In 1985 his recording career got a new lease of life when he signed to Arista records and released the song The Last Kiss which featured George Michael on backing vocals and reached number six in the UK.
In 2000, David wrote and performed in the Las Vegas show At the Copa alongside Sheena Easton. By the mid-2000s he’d turned to alcohol and made is public in 2008. He was arrested a number of times for drink-driving related offences and was briefly jailed at one point too. His mother had suffered with Alzheimer’s disease and in 2011 David recorded a public service announcement. In 2017 he announced that he was suffering with dementia and eventually gave up live performing when it became more evident when he kept forgetting lyrics.
On 18th November he was rushed to hospital with liver and kidney failure and was placed in a medically-induced coma. He came out of the coma a couple of days later and was awaiting a liver transplant, but doctors didn’t think his body, at that stage, would cope with the operation. He died three days later.