Remembering David Cassidy, ’70s Actor & Pop Idol

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David Cassidy in the ’70s

Actor and singer David Cassidy, who first came to the public’s attention in the ’70s as a cast member of TV’s The Partridge Family, died on November 21, 2017, at 67. Cassidy’s death followed days of rumors regarding the extent of his health issues.

By coincidence, Nov. 21 was the anniversary of his biggest single—the Partridge Family’s “I Think I Love You”—hitting #1 on the Hot 100 in 1970.

Cassidy died on the anniversary of the day “I Think I Loved You” topped the charts

“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,” his publicist, Jo-Ann Geffen, said.

Shirley Jones said, “Long before he played my son on The Partridge Family, David was my stepson in real life. As a little boy, his sweet sensitivity and wicked sense of humor were already on display, and I will treasure the years we spent working and growing together.”

A week earlier, the star had been hospitalized in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., with unspecified organ failure. TMZ reported that he was experiencing kidney failure and also in need of a liver transplant. On Nov. 19, the entertainment and gossip website reported that Cassidy had been moved to the hospital’s intensive care unit and that his family had been summoned to be with him as he was not expected to live much longer.

Earler in the year, following a performance in California, Cassidy revealed that he was suffering from dementia, telling People magazine at the time, “I was in denial, but a part of me always knew this was coming.”

Brian Wilson was among those expressing their condolences upon hearing the news.

Recent news reports indicated that Cassidy had been undergoing other unspecified health problems in recent months. He also dealt with alcoholism during his life and had been arrested for DUI incidents three times, and he filed for bankruptcy in 2015.

In his final days, his loved ones shared their support:

On Nov. 18, Cassidy’s younger half-brother (and fellow actor-singer) Shaun Cassidy tweeted:

And on Nov. 19, David Cassidy’s The Partridge Family co-star, Danny Bonaduce, tweeted:

Cassidy on the cover of the February 1972 issue of Tiger Beat

David Bruce Cassidy was born April 12, 1950, in New York City. He achieved massive fame as a heartthrob while starring as Keith Partridge in the hit TV series The Partridge Family (loosely based on the story of real-life family pop group the Cowsills) from 1970 to 1974. Along with The Brady Bunch, the sitcom was a prominent part of ABC TV’s Friday night schedule and in its first three seasons was a solid hit as millions of younger viewers and their families stayed in to watch the powerhouse lineup.

As a singing group, the Partridge Family achieved instant success. With Cassidy singing lead, their first single, “I Think I Love You,” became a #1 hit on the U.S. Hot 100 in November 1970, less than two months after the TV series’ Sept. 25 debut.

Watch a clip of the Partridge Family’s big hit “I Think I Love You”

Although he had some success on the charts under his own name, including a top 10 single in 1971 with “Cherish,” he was unable to maintain that level of success as he—and the fans (particularly young females)—grew older.

Maureen McCormick, who played Marcia Brady on TV’s The Brady Bunch, which ran back-to-back on Friday nights with The Partridge Family for several seasons on ABC TV, wrote:

But at the peak of the TV series’ success, Cassidy was a familiar fixture on the cover of dozens of teen magazines. His TV mother and real-life stepmother, Shirley Jones, who married the actor Jack Cassidy, was 83 years old when David Cassidy died. He has a daughter, actress Katie Cassidy.

Related: What were the big radio hits of 1971? 

Following the announcement of his dementia in February, 2017—which came after he gave an erratic performance that startled fans—Cassidy said that he would retire from show business. “I’ve spent months contemplating this decision to retire at the end of this year,” he said. “But I will still do a number of concerts this year in 2017! I believe I owe that to my fans and also to my second family, the members of my band. They’ve been there for many years with me. They’re all fantastic musicians and wonderful friends to me.”

He last performed in March at B.B. King’s Club & Grill in New York City.

Best Classic Bands Staff

3 Comments so far

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  1. Gene
    #1 Gene 22 November, 2017, 07:01

    Being seven years younger than David, I was just s kid when the Partridge Family was on TV. I recall having to go outside and turn the antenna pole with the extra antenna on top of the regular antenna until someone in the house would yell TV picture is clear. That show and David singing inspired me, along with others, but they did not have a TV show, to become the musician and songwriter I am today. I recall I Think I Love You being one of three 45rpms I played over and over. Had a gray label. Get Off My Cloud (Rolling Stones), a light blue label, House at Poih Corner (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band), a light brown label on the record. Don’t recall the label name, but hey, I was just a kid. I remember imitating David’s voice doing both the high and low vocal parts, in I Think I Live You, thinking how cool that!
    Thank you David for inspiration and your music. May you rest in peace and your music live on for generations to come.

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  2. mick62
    #2 mick62 22 November, 2020, 05:32

    David’s voice and marvellous songs will live forever! God bless this great man.

    Reply this comment
  3. Neil from Skokie
    #3 Neil from Skokie 22 November, 2020, 11:03

    He also had a son, Beau. I don’t know why he wasn’t mentioned in the story!

    Reply this comment

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