David Cassidy, who rose to teen stardom as oldest son Keith Partridge on ABC 1970-74 musical comedy “The Partridge Family,” died yesterday from organ failure in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He was 67 and had been in intensive care since he was hospitalized for liver and kidney failure last week.
Earlier this year, Cassidy announced that he had been diagnosed with dementia. Just before sharing that news, he said he was retiring from touring.
“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,” his family said in a statement Tuesday. “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.”
Born April 12, 1950 in New York City, Cassidy made his professional debut in the Broadway musical “The Fig Leaves Are Falling” in January 1969. It closed after four performances, but a casting director saw the show and asked Cassidy to make a screen test. In 1969, he moved to Los Angeles and signed with Universal Studios where he began guest starring on series like “Ironside,” “Marcus Welby, M.D.,” “Adam-12” and “Bonanza.” Then came his iconic role on “The Partridge Family,” which resulted in several pop hits including “I Think I Love You” and “Cherish.”
The ABC sitcom was loosely based on real-life family musical act the Cowsills, and also featured Cassidy’s stepmother Shirley Jones.
Cassidy later launched a solo career, recording a dozen studio albums and six compilation albums and was nominated for a Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor for a Single Appearance in a Drama or Comedy Series for an episode of NBC anthology “Police Story” in 1978. That led to short-lived spin-off series “David Cassidy – Man Undercover.” He also made guest appearances on shows including “Fantasy Island,” “The Love Boat” and “Tales of the Unexpected.”
In the decades that followed, Cassidy continued to perform in Las Vegas and tour. He also played the manager of Aaron Carter’s character in the 2005 film “Popstar” and starred with half-brother Patrick in “Ruby and the Rockits,” created by his half-brother Shaun.
Cassidy is survived by son Beau with ex-wife Sue Shifrin-Cassidy; his daughter Katie; his brothers Shaun, Patrick and Ryan; step-mother Shirley Jones; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. Plans for a memorial service will be announced at a later date.