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David Cassidy

davidcassidy_023Born the son of actor Jack Cassidy and actress Evelyn Ward, in New York on 12 April 1950, David Cassidy turned actor straight out of high school, winning bit parts on Broadway and on TV series like Marcus Welby, MD and Ironside.

The glitter and squealing came after he joined The Partridge Family, where he played the lead singer in a family rock band mothered by Shirley Jones, his real-life stepmother.

Life imitated art, and a year-and-a-half later David was soloing in the flesh in Madison Square Garden.

By the mid-70s he was a bona fide idol to millions of teenyboppers – a mega-star of the order only approached by The Osmonds and The Bay City Rollers.

In 1972 and 1973 he enjoyed singles success with How Can I Be Sure?DaydreamerCould It Be Forever?Rock Me BabyIf I Didn’t CareDarlin’ and I Write The Songs.

cassidy256During this time, David toured extensively in America and Europe and appeared on the cover of every teen magazine in the western world. Meanwhile, hysterical girls sobbed and screamed whenever he appeared

On his 1974 tour of Britain, in a concert at White City Stadium in London on 26 May, the crowd of teenyboppers ran out of control resulting in over 1,000 needing medical attention and six girls being taken to hospital.

One girl -14-year-old Bernadette Whelan – died four days later of a heart attack and resulting brain damage after she had been caught in a crush during the concert.

David was not emotionally equipped to deal with the event or the stresses of his awesome popularity and turned his back on his career while he was at the top. In 1977, his young fans received their final blow when he married actress Kay Lenz and retired from show business to live in Hawaii.

davidcassidy87986Kay – who appeared in the mini-series Rich Man, Poor Man – later revealed that David was plagued by insomnia and haunted by the tensions of his former stardom.

He – for his part – admitted that being a teen idol had been a living hell; “I had become a freak attraction to the kids. My world was a hideous fantasy”.

“The people who manipulated me, the agents and the record companies, made me into a monster that teenyboppers could go crazy and scream over. I hated to get up each day because I despised myself!”.

In 1978, David starred in the ill-fated David Cassidy – Man Undercover series. Thereafter his acting career fell into decline, except for occasional roles in made-for-TV films like The Night The City Screamed (1980).

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