David Cassidy, the former teen heartbreaker who starred on the 1970s sitcom The Partridge Family and had a handful of pop hits, has died, days after reports surfaced that he was suffering organ failure. He was 67 and suffered from dementia, complicated by liver and kidney shut-downs. Cassidy had been hospitalized in Florida.
His family issued a statement tonight: “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.”
He was born on April 12, 1950, in New York but raised in Los Angeles with a show business family — father Jack Cassidy was a noted actor, and stepmother Shirley Jones starred with him on The Partridge Family. David Cassidy did guest shots on such popular TV series as Ironside, Adam-12 and The F.B.I. before skyrocketiug to fame at age 20 with his role as Keith Partridge on the ABC sitcom The Partridge Family, which aired from 1970-74.
The series about a musical family that hits the big time in the music biz was a hit, finishing among primetime top 25 series in each of its first three seasons and topping out at No. 16 in 1971-72. Along with Jones, it also starred future L.A. Law actress Susan Dey, future reality TV and radio regular Danny Bonaduce and Dave Madden as their agent Reuben Kincaid.
The show’s success made Cassidy a teen idol, and his fame was fueled with the Partridge Family’s debut single “I Think I Love You,” a catchy No. 1 hit on which he sang lead vocal. The group had two other top 10 hits with 1971’s Doesn’t Somebody Want to Be Wanted” and “I’ll Meet You Halfway” and a string of lesser hits into 1973.
Cassidy strove to become respected as a musician, and he produce the hit “Cherish,” which reached No. 9 the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 2 in the UK. He went on to produce five solo albums during the series’ run, as well as 10 credited to The Partridge Family, most of them million-sellers. He never would match the chart success of “Cherish” but was a major concert attraction, playing stadiums and arena-sized shows.
But Cassidy struggled with his image as a frothy pop star, only coming to grips with it and embracing it later in life. In 1982-83, he appeared on Broadway in Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and returned to the Main Stem in the mid-’90s opposite his half-brother — fellow former teen idol Shaun Cassidy — in Blood Brothers.
As he matured and his past glories faded, the ensuing years were not kind financially. The former star declared bankruptcy in 2015, blaming diminishing royalty checks for The Partridge Family, health issues that prevented him from touring and bad investments.
The bankruptcy documents claimed: “While he still loves performing for his fans, it is more difficult to travel and perform in various parts of the United States or worldwide due to his health.”
Cassidy revealed his dementia diagnosis earlier this year. He has also been open about his struggles with alcohol and drug addition.
In February, he was a guest on the Dr. Phil show, and talked about falling on stage and forgetting the lyrics to one of his songs during an performance in Agoura Hills, CA.
“When friends of yours or family members begin to say to you, ‘Remember, I just told you this two days ago,’ and there’s no memory of it, that’s when I began to be very concerned,” he said on the show.
Cassidy continued to appear on TV into the 2000s, guesting on such hit series as Fantasy Island and Malcolm in the Middle. He was a regular on the short-lived ABC Family series Ruby & The Rockits, which was co-created by Shaun Cassidy and also starred Patrick Cassidy. It aired one season in 2010. His most recent credit was a 2013 episode of CSI.
He last performed in March at the B.B. King Blues Club & Grill in New York.