David Cassidy was a Jersey boy with deep NJ roots
Singer. Actor. Heartthrob. Jersey guy.
David Cassidy, most famous for playing the role of Keith Partridge on The Partridge Family tv show in the 1970's has died.
If you've seen it, you may have only seen it in re-runs. So it probably looks really corny and really dated. But know this. David Cassidy was an enormous draw. He began playing the lead singer of fictional band The Partridge Family in 1970 but became a musical star in his own right. The term "Cassidymania" soon followed.
His sold out concert at Madison Square Garden caused riots after the show. In Australia such mass hysteria surrounded his performances that there were some calling for his deportation from the country. At London's White City Stadium in May of 1974 a gate stampede injured 800 people, sent 30 to the hospital, and caused the death of a 14 year old girl.
He wanted to be respected as a serious rock musician in the vein of Mick Jagger, and the label of teen idol is one he hated until very late in life. He eventually came to terms with his career having a bubblegum birth. Tragically he eventually developed dementia and announced it to the world earlier this year. It was a form of non-Alzheimer's dementia, the same condition suffered by his mother towards the end of her life. This month he was hospitalized with liver and kidney failure and succumbed while waiting for a liver transplant.
Here's what you may not have known. David Cassidy was raised in West Orange, New Jersey. Yep, a Jersey guy. His mother was an actress named Evelyn Ward and his father a singer and actor named Jack Cassidy. They were often touring on the road, so he spent his early years being raised in a middle-class neighborhood in West Orange by his maternal grandparents.
At age 6 he was crushed to find out from other kids in the neighborhood that his parents had divorced two years earlier and kept it hidden from him. They did it to spare him the emotional pain. It was that same year his father married a singer/actress by the name of Shirley Jones. Yes, the same Shirley Jones who years later would play Shirley Partridge, Keith Partridge's mother. David Cassidy's own step-mother played his real mother on The Partridge Family.
Here's some other crazy trivia. While David's real mother, Evelyn, was born and raised in West Orange, she came from Irish and Swiss Colonial Americans and her ancestors were among the founders of Newark. Yes, New Jersey's largest city was founded in part by ancestors of David Cassidy.
Hard to believe that Mayor Ras Baraka has David Cassidy's family to thank for his job.
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