David Cassidy, the musician, actor and Partridge Family teen idol, died Tuesday, according to The Hollywood Reporter. He was 67. The multi-talented star entered a Fort Lauderdale, FL hospital for liver and kidney failure last week.
Cassidy’s representative Jo-Ann Geffen confirmed his passing, saying, “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.”
Cassidy became a teenage heartthrob with his role as Keith Partridge in the ‘70s sitcom, The Partridge Family. The show centered around a singing family act from California who score a top 40 hit and then go on the road in their signature colorful school bus to play shows and engage in various wacky adventures. With Cassidy as its lead singer, the fake band scored a real hit with their debut bubblegum confection “I Think I Love You,” which hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in November 1970.
In an attempt to shed his clean cut image, Cassidy appeared nude on the cover of Rolling Stone in 1972, one of the magazine’s most controversial covers. In the corresponding interview, the then-21-year-old candidly discussed his drug use (“not smack, but grass and speed and psychedelics”) and what he recognized was the short shelf life of a teen heartthrob.
Cassidy’s debut solo album Cherish, released in 1972 amid Partridge mania, was similarly successfully. He remained a fixture in the music industry, recording with artists like the Beach Boys – Carl Wilson and Bruce Johnston appear on Cassidy’s 1976 LP Home Is Where the Heart Is, while Brian Wilson co-wrote “Cruise to Harlem” with Cassidy – and befriending John Lennon.
“John and I became good friends when he was recording Rock and Roll so I was able to come down to the studio a couple of times and if you could imagine Phil Spector walking around with a fucking gun… It was nuts,” Cassidy said.
In 1985 Cassidy had a brief blip on the charts again in 1985 when the George Michael-assisted single “The Last Kiss” went top 40 hit in Europe. His final album was 1998’s Old Trick New Dog on Slamajama Records, which featured a number of Partridge remakes.
After hanging up his mic for good, Cassidy starred in the short-lived 1978 police drama David Cassidy: Man Undercover, which was cancelled shortly, but was essentially the blueprint for the later hit show 21 Jump Street.
Cassidy turned to theater in the 1980s, touring with a variety of musical productions and in the late 1990s and early 2000s he joined the Las Vegas shows EFX and At the Copa. The thrice-married star continued touring until announcing his retirement in February, at which time he revealed he was suffering from non-Alzheimer’s dementia.
Through ups and downs, including well-documented struggles with alcohol and a series of DUI arrests in the 2000s, Cassidy maintained the positive demeanor that had endeared him to a generation of fans from many generations.
“I’m an optimist. I mean, you have to be with my career,” he said in his official bio. “I’ve never gone out and changed my style to suit the times. I have always stayed true to myself by using the work ethic my father instilled in me, to strive for the best musically, theatrically, as well as in producing and writing. He taught me to be fearless about revealing the frailties and strengths of the human experience. Bringing that human element to my work is the most important thing I can do as an entertainer.”