David Cassidy Biography

PHOTO: David Cassidy

The son of Irish-Catholic Jack Cassidy, a respected stage and television star, and actress Evelyn Ward, of English Protestant descent.

Cassidy made his stage debut in ‘The Pyjama Game’, followed by the Los Angeles Theatre Company’s ‘And So To Bed’, during his senior year at Rexford High School in 1967. His professional debut on Broadway was in the production of ‘The Fig Leaves are Falling’ (1969).

People started to notice him and he moved on to make appearances in various television shows during the late 1960s and early 1970s. These included ‘Marcus Welby, M.D.’, a medical drama; ‘The Mod Squad’, a police drama; ‘Bonanza’, an American Western/cowboy programme (the first regularly broadcast television programme to be filmed in colour); and ‘Ironside’, a police drama series.

His big break came with the hugely successful television series ‘The Partridge Family’, in which he starred from 1970 to 1974. It was the story of a family who travelled the country, playing rock music. Cassidy was the eldest son and singing teen heartthrob, Keith Partridge, alongside his Academy Award winning step-mother, Shirley Jones, who played Shirley Partridge, the widowed mother of the five talented children. The show catapulted Cassidy to fame.

He sang the lead vocals for ‘The Partridge Family’ recordings and during the run of the show, ten ‘Partridge Family’ albums and several solo albums were produced. The biggest recorded hit, ‘I Think I Love You’ (1970), helped Cassidy become a teen idol in his own right. He received Grammy nominations, won a Golden Apple Award and had some hit singles outside of the show. His fan club became the largest in music industry history, even outstripping those of Elvis Presley and The Beatles.

With his growing fame and singing success, Cassidy was keen to shake his squeaky-clean teen idol image and to pursue a solo career. He decided to leave the show, and ‘The Partridge Family’ was cancelled in 1974, after 96 episodes.

Concentrating for a while on his singing, Cassidy had many chart-topping singles, including ‘Doesn't Somebody Want To Be Wanted’, ‘I Woke Up In Love This Morning’, ‘Breaking Up Is Hard To Do’, ‘Cherish’, and ‘Rock Me Baby’. In 1974, Cassidy went on a concert tour that began in New Zealand, and took him to Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, and ended in England.

He married his first wife, Kay Lenz, in 1977 and they divorced in 1982. The following year, he received an Emmy nomination as Best Dramatic Actor for the television film ‘A Chance to Live’ (1978).

Cassidy continued to act, making many notable television and stage appearances for a number of years. He worked in several Broadway musicals, including ‘Little Johnny Jones’ (1981) and the part of Joseph in the original version of ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat’ (1983).

Moving to England in 1984, Cassidy concentrated on writing new songs, and married his second wife, South African sportswoman Meryl Tanz. He recorded the album ‘Romance’ in 1985 and enjoyed sold-out British concert tours. In 1986, a mere two years after they married, Meryl and David divorced.

Cassidy was gaining considerable credibility as both a dramatic and a musical theatre actor. He took over from Sir Cliff Richard to play the Rock Star in the London West End production of ‘Time’ (1987), with Sir Lawrence Olivier and played opposite his half-brother, Shaun Cassidy, with Petula Clark, in ‘Blood Brothers’ (1994).

He turned his hand to film making, back in America, and the feature film ‘Instant Karma’ (1990) was the result. He married his third wife, singer/songwriter, Sue Shifrin on 30 March 1991 and they had a son, Beau Devin Cassidy (born 8 February 1991).

Next up was big production Las Vegas shows. In 1996, Cassidy took over ‘EFX’, reworking it and turning it into a money-spinning success. The show received many awards and he only retired from it when he injured his foot during a performance. In 1999, Cassidy started up the ‘Rat Pack is Back’, a sell-out success, receiving much critical and popular acclaim. Then he wrote and appeared in ‘At the Copa’ (2000) with Sheena Easton and the largest big-band orchestra in Las Vegas.

Cassidy set off on a world tour in 2001 and secured a record deal in order to release his high-concept stage/music ideas to home audiences.

January 2005 found Cassidy spending a week on a morning radio show at WJMK-FM, in Chicago. He chatted happily to fans and lunched with the winner of a competition the station ran.

A life’s passion for Cassidy has been horses and he breeds and races thoroughbreds. He and his wife are also committed to helping the needy, involving themselves in activities such as the 1994 Rebuild LA campaign, with spin-offs to help the children in Kosovo and the formation of KidsCharities.org.

In a career of great variety, Cassidy has worked prolifically, in virtually all aspects of entertainment, from the late 1960s until the present. From television and film to the stage; from Broadway and the West End to Las Vegas; from directing and producing to writing, starring, and singing; he has done them all, with great panache and to continued praise and recognition.

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