Musician and actor David Cassidy died this week at age 67, after battling dementia. It was a sad end for one of the 1970s biggest teen heartthrobs. Cassidy first shot to fame by appearing on the TV show the Partridge Family, which featured his step-mother, Shirley Jones, as the matriarch of a singing family. Cassidy is survived by his two children, brothers Shaun, Partick and Ryan, and Jones. Here are five facts about David Cassidy you probably didn’t know.
- He Hated His Bubble-Gum Pop Image
By 1972, the Partridge Family was one of TV’s top-rated show, Cassidy’s music, such as the hit “I Think I Love You,” was instantly-recognizable, and his faced graced the covers of teen magazines. Cassidy, however, was miserable. In real life he was a hippie who was hanging around Haight-Asbury in San Francisco – the ground zero of Flower Power. He idolized Jimmy Hendrix and was into the most groundbreaking music of the 1960’s and 1970’s.
- He Posed Nude
Fans around the country were shocked (and excited) when Cassidy unexpectedly posed nude on the cover of Rolling Stone in 1972. Annie Leibovitz shot the famous photograph, which shows a naked Cassidy relaxing in the grass, just a hint of pubic hair visible at the bottom of the cover. Cassidy, who was chafing because of his image, did the article and photo shoot without telling his management, who then went nuclear when the article came out. It was something of a public relations disaster for Cassidy, since the article portrayed him as doing drugs, commenting on bisexual groupies, and jesting about fans who left their seats “sticky.”
Cassidy’s management wasn’t the only one angered by Cassidy’s choice. The network was outraged and they pushed him out of the show. Although Leibovitz said she was sad about the response to the photo shoot, she says Cassidy thanked her every time he saw her over the years. “He desperately wanted to get off the show and he sort of committed professional suicide to get out of his contract,” she said.
- A Girl Was Crushed to Death During a Concert
A 14-year old girl, Bernadette Whelan, was crushed during a stampede at a Cassidy concert in London in May of 1974. Cassidy was traumatized by her death, and he quit touring and acting. He couldn’t enjoy his stardom and felt that it contributed to the loss of life. Cassidy was out of show business for a few years afterward. Cassidy described his life as “isolating” and “sad” because he was such a big star – with a fan club bigger than Elvis – but he sacrificed privacy for music that he did not even identify with or like.
- He Was a Good Musician
Despite Cassidy’s TV fame and teen idol resume, Cassidy was not created by a TV network. He was legitimately talented, but rarely got the chance to pursue his own style. He collaborated with The Beach Boys and George Michael and also had a friendship with John Lennon.
Cassidy wrote Barry Manilow’s signature hit, “I Write the Songs.” His music was also featured on The John Larroquette Show after he submitted a theme song under a pseudonym, Blind Lemon Jackson, on a lark.
- His Daughter is Black Canary
After two failed marriages, Cassidy married Sue Shiffrin in 1991. The two had a son, Beau Devin Cassidy. The marriage lasted until 2016. His daughter Katie Cassidy was born in 1986 to model Sherry Williams. Cassidy was not involved in Katie’s life when she was growing up. Katie Cassidy is now playing Black Canary on CW’s hit show, The Arrow. Katie praised him for being non-judgmental and giving her advice. “Do not work for money,” he told said. “Do not work for fame. Work for the work. And if you get a great role and they offer you nothing, take it.” Katie took his advice, but in 2016 Cassidy seemed to distance himself from his daughter, stating he had little to do with her life. Experts believe the dementia had taken its toll on him during this time.