Biography

A performer whose career soared and peaked in the early '70s, multifaceted entertainer David Cassidy dramatically redefined the term "teen idol," as others including Paul Anka and Neil Sedaka had before him. In his heyday, Cassidy culled an untoward number of admirers, including legions of starstruck teenage girls. The son of actors Jack Cassidy and Evelyn Ward (and the stepson of Shirley Jones), David landed his first major break on the blockbuster '70s musical sitcom The Partridge Family (1970-1974), opposite Jones, Susan Dey, and Danny Bonaduce. Based very loosely on the experiences of the real-life family vocal band the Cowsills, the now-iconic series told of a widowed mother and her brood of rowdy kids, who became national pop stars overnight, and eked out a life touring in a colorful schoolbus and performing all over the country. Cassidy -- 20 years old when the series premiered -- played the eldest Partridge boy, 16-year-old David. Series producers took advantage of the program's success by marketing the Partridges as a real-life recording group, fronted by David (who was not a professional musician); this worked, and brought Cassidy Grammy Awards and the largest celebrity fan club in the history of recorded music. The triumphs were somewhat short-lived, however, and by 1975 (a year after Family folded) Cassidy's popularity with the younger market had declined, as new and fresher talent took his place. He responded by branching out into acting roles, in films such as A Chance to Live (1978), The Narc (1978), and The Night the City Screamed (1980), and in time established an agreeable presence as a musical theater star, on Broadway and in London's famed West End. Cassidy's overall popularity rebounded in the mid- to late '90s. Thanks in no small part to a nostalgia craze and to presence on VH1, he landed an assignment opening the 75-million-dollar show EFX at the MGM Grand, which in turn gave him the clout to mount and produce his own revue in Vegas, a tribute to Sinatra and co. christened The Rat Pack Is Back (1999). In the following decade, Cassidy began touring once again, signed a new record deal, and issued a series of albums including Then and Now (2001) and Touch of Blue (2003). Busy as ever, he topped TV GUIDE's list of the 25 Greatest Teen Idols in 2005. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi