Monday, November 27, 2017

Godspeed David Cassidy

David Cassidy, the former teen idol best known as Keith Partridge as The Partridge Family, died on November 21 2017. The cause was liver failure. He had also been suffering from dementia for several months.

David Cassidy was born on April 12 1950 in New York City. His parents were actor and singer  Jack Cassidy, who would later play actor Oscar North on the cult sitcom He & She, and actress Evelyn Ward. Since his parents were often occupied with their work, young Mr. Cassidy spent much of his childhood with his maternal grandparents in West Orange, New Jersey. His parents divorced while he was very young and his father later married actress Shirley Jones.

David Cassidy made his acting debut in a guest appearance on the TV show The Survivors in 1969. He guest starred on the shows Ironside, The F.B.I., Marcus Welby M.D., Adam-12, Bonanza, Medical Centre, and The Mod Squad. It was in 1970 that he began playing oldest brother Keith Partridge on The Partridge Family. The show also starred his stepmother Shirley Jones as mother Shirley Partridge. The show, about a family who performed as a band, proved to be a hit with the younger set, and David Cassidy soon became a teen idol. Songs and albums by The Partridge Family were also released, although the instruments were played by session musicians and vocals, except for those of Shirley Jones and David Cassidy, were performed by session vocalists. Regardless, they sold very well. The first single from The Partridge Family, "I Think I Love You", went to number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Four other songs reached the top twenty. Their albums sold well too, with the first three reaching the top ten of the Billboard album chart.

David Cassidy was still on The Partridge Family when he released his first solo album, Cherish. The first single from that album, a cover of The Association's "Cherish" went to no. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100. Mr. Cassidy released three more solo albums while The Partridge Family was still on the air.

The Partridge Family went off the air in 1974. Unfortunately, Mr. Cassidy's music career would go into a bit of a decline in the United States, although he continued to do well in Britain, Europe, and Australia. He continued to release albums until 1976, when his last album for some time, Getting It in the Street, was released. He also continued acting. During the 1978-1979 season he starred in the short-lived series David Cassidy: Man Undercover. He guest starred on Police Story (the backdoor pilot for David Cassidy: Man Undercover), and The Love Boat.

In the Eighties David Cassidy released two studio albums and a live album. In 1981 he toured in a revival of Gorge M. Cohan's Little Johnny Jones for a time. In 1983 he took over the lead role in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. He later appeared on London's West end in Time. On television he guest starred on Matt Houston, Fantasy Island, Tales of the Unexpected, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. He appeared in the films Instant Karma (1990) and The Spirit of '76 (1990).

In the Nineties David Cassidy released two albums. His single "Lyin' to Myself" peaked at no. 27 on the Billboard Hot 100. He hosted the VH1 show 8-Track Flashback. On television he guest starred as The Mirror Master on The Flash, and also guest starred on The Ben Stiller Show, and The John Laroquette Show.

In the Naughts he was a regular on the show Ruby & the Rockets. He was a guest voice on Kim Possible. He guest starred on the shows The Agency, Malcolm in the Middle, and Less Than Perfect. He appeared in the films Popstar (2005) and Alexa Vega: You Are Where I Live (2009). In the Teens he guest starred on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Next year he will appear in the film Forgiven This Gun4hire (2018).

David Cassidy was hardly the first teen idol, but, short of Davy Jones, he might well have been the biggest. David Cassidy was wildly popular with pre-teen and teenage girls in the Seventies. His posters adorned their rooms. They bought his albums (both The Partridge Family albums and his solo albums). He was regularly featured on the covers of such magazines as Tiger Beat and 16. There have been several teen idols since David Cassidy, but none have really matched him.

Of course, David Cassidy had his male fans as well. I was only about six when The Partridge Family debuted and I watched it faithfully. And while my favourite character was Danny and I had a crush on Shirley, I thought Keith was pretty cool. I also liked the songs on the show. I never quite stopped being a Partridge Family fan, although there was a time that I was not likely to admit it. David Cassidy was responsible for much of the show's success. Never mind that pre-teen and teenage girls found him attractive, he also had a good voice and he was a fairly good actor as well. His acting talent would be on display in his later guest appearances. He turned in a good performance as The Mirror Master on The Flash, and he was quite good as a plastic surgery obsessed, washed-up poker player on CSI. If David Cassidy was one of the biggest teen idols of all time, it was perhaps because he had a good deal of talent as well.

1 comment:

A Vintage Nerd said...

He was magical and will be missed!