The Partridge Family is the all American television show that warmed critics and viewers’ hearts. Portraying the lives of the musical singing family the Partridges, the show follows the crazy adventures of the family in America in the 1970s. What really happened between David Cassidy and Susan Dey? What happened on set behind the scenes?
The Cast Was Underpaid
The producers and creators of the show, Sony, were earning millions of dollars per episode of the popular show, yet the cast was grossly underpaid. David Cassidy was making a mere $600 a week.
There Is More Than One Version of the Pilot
In the original version of the pilot episode, the Partridge’s live in Ohio and not in California and the character of their father, who is deceased, is actually talked about rather than a background figure that isn’t mentioned, and when he was discussed he was discussed as a former alcoholic.
Shirley Jones joined the cast of The Partridge Family in 1970 after turning down a role to be the mother in The Brady Bunch. She portrayed the Partridge Family mother for the full run of the series, but found trouble getting work after the show ended. She was also the real life stepmother of David Cassidy of the series. Jones currently does stage performances and is an active PETA member.
Rebelling Against His Squeaky Clean Image
Cassidy did find his own way to rebel against the squeaky-clean image created by the studio. In May of 1972 he gave a provocative interview to Rolling Stone Magazine. The article talked about his drug use as well as his sexual prowess. (Even his brothers talked about how well-endowed he was, giving him the nickname “Donk.”) To prove that he was not the manufactured teen idol being touted by the press, he posed nude on the cover, in a photo by Annie Leibovitz. It’s hard to imagine the impact of David Cassidy’s nude Rolling Stone cover in a post-Miley Cyrus world, but at the time, people thought it would ruin his career. He may have been hoping for that all along.
Brian Forster was the replacement actor who played youngest son Chris Partridge in The Partridge Family. Forster is the child of British film actor Peter Forster, step grandson of British acting legend Alan Napier, and the great great great grandson of one Charles Dickens. He had a lot of names to live up to. Once Brian became old enough to drive he became a stunt driver and even a professional race car driver!
The Same Studio Created ‘The Monkees’
“The Partridge Family” was in large the 1970s successor to the TV series turned live performing band “The Monkees.” The production company Screen Gems was behind both shows fell under the genre of comedy-musicals centered on fictional bands that were trying to make it big.
No One Noticed When Chris Was Switched Out
When producers decided to switch the actors who played Chris, no one seemed to notice. The studio didn’t receive any angry letters from fans complaining about the change, something that usually happens a lot when changes such as actors occurs. First season Chris was played by Jeremy Gelbwaks, while Brian Forster played the role of Chris from season two onwards until the end of the show in season four. They had to switch as Gelbwaks was causing a lot of drama on set.
The Show Snuck In Homage To ‘The Wizard of Oz’
Fans with a keen eye might have noticed that “The Partridge Family” snuck in an homage to “The Wizard of Oz.” Among the show’s star-studded list of guest stars were Ray Bolger and Margaret Hamilton from the 1939 blockbuster musical fantasy film.
Shirley’s Successful Career Ended Her Marriage
Shirley was married to Jack Cassidy when she began acting and singing on The Partridge Family. Her success made Jack very jealous and caused their relationship to go down a negative spiral. Shirley stated that “His overriding sense of inferiority in the face of my success drove him into the arms of other women even more often than before.” David Cassidy said that his father had an issue with anger and alcohol which contributed to his turbulent behavior in light of his family’s quick success and rise to fame.
Nominated For A Grammy
The Partridge Family’s harmonious sound was featured on 89 songs and nine albums between 1970 and 1973. Domestic and international record sales saw millions of copies fly off the shelves. Yet, in 1971, the TV group again made history.
The Partridge’s Were Inspired By a Real Life Family
The Partridge Family is based on a real life family that is very similar to the storyline – the Cowsill family. The Coswill family consisted of the mother, six sons and a daughter. The family was a musical one as well, with top hits like their 1967 song, The Rain, the Park & Other Things. The producers of the show originally wanted the real family to play the Partridges, but then producers wanted to replace the mother with Shirley Jones, which is a fact that the Cowsill’s were sure not to agree to, and they ultimately didn’t. Interesting fact.
Shirley Jones Turned Down a Role on The Brady Bunch
Shirley spoke of why she chose being a Partridge over being a Brady: “While the idea of playing the mother in The Brady Bunch was initially attractive to me, I turned it down because I didn’t want to be the mother taking the roast out of the oven and no doing much else… First, because she was destined to become the first working mother on TV and I loved the script. Second, because working on the series would let me be an almost full-time mom and raise my kids.”
Ricky Was Added To Boost Ratings
When in doubt, bring in a kid. That’s how producers felt when they added the character of Ricky in season four of the show. Ricky was brought in especially to boost ratings, which were declining during that time. The producers were caught up in the Jackson Five effect, and originally wanted an African-American child to be put on the show, but they ultimately decided to go with cute little Ricky. They had some competition.
David’s Concert Lead to a Fan’s Death
During and after the show, David’s musical career really shot to the height of success. He was playing a concert in London’s White City Stadium in 1974 when a crowd of young people ran towards the stage, crushing 30 others in front of them. One of the individuals who was crushed was a young 14 year old girl named, Bernadette Whelan. Bernadette never recovered from her injuries and passed away four days later in the hospital, from cardiac arrest. Cassidy would later be asked about this incident and has stated that this specific situation will always haunt him.
Danny Bonaduce Was a Troublemaker
Danny was a troublemaker on set, but that shouldn’t surprise you. His on-set mother, Shirley Jones, said that “Danny was a wild child who came from an unhappy home. At eleven, he started smoking.” Like many child stars in Hollywood, Danny grew up in the spotlight while also having a lot of trouble behind the scenes at home. There a lot of temptations when you are a child actor. As we mentioned, Danny grew up in an abusive home, which must have been a contributor to his wild behavior on-set.
The Partridge’s Home Was Filmed For Other Shows
If the the Partridge home looks familiar to you, that is because their home was also featured on the show Bewitched, it was also the home of the Stevens’ nosy neighbors, as well as I Dream of Jeannie, Dennis the Menace, and The Donna Reed Show. All of these shows were massive hits in the 1960s and 1970s, so many fans with a sharp eye did indeed see a similarity that they couldn’t pinpoint. Oh, you may also remember the house from the film, Pleasantville, with Reese Witherspoon.
The Studio Originally Wanted Olivia Newton-John To Play Laurie
The producers’ first choice for the part of Laurie was actually not Susan Dey, but Olivia Newton-John. Ironically, when casting started for the 1978 musical hit “Grease,” Dey was a frontrunner for the female lead, Sandy.
The Family Dog Disappeared
If you remember, during the first season of The Partridge Family, the group had a dog named, Simone. Some time between season one and season two, the dog just vanishes and is nowhere to be seen and never heard from again. We sure hope nothing actually happened to the dog in real life, and that producers just decided that the extra ‘character’ was unnecessary for the storyline of the show. Otherwise, we just couldn’t take it!
David Cassidy Wanted To Leave The Show
Like many young stars, David Cassidy quick propelled to fame and fortune, but the reality of life in the limelight took its toll on him. Years of a hectic filming and concert schedule left him exhausted and disenchanted with the bubblegum pop persona he was associated with.
Susan Dey Won’t Participate In Any Cast Reunions
To this day, Susan Dey refuses to attend any cast reunions. Jones had said that, “she and David had grown apart, and nowadays they are completely out of touch, which hurts David tremendously… I was also hurt that out of everyone on the show, only Susan consistently refuses to take part in any TV reunions of The Partridge Family.” Perhaps one day soon Susan will be able to put the past behind her and join her old co-stars, we’re sure it would make the show’s fans VERY excited! We pray that this day will come. We love a happy ending.
There Were Famous Guest Stars Galore
While the show itself was very popular, we wonder if you remember all the incredible guest stars that appeared on the show. Stars included Jodi Foster, Farrah Fawcett, Jaclyn Smith, Johnny Cash (who made an appearance on the show’s pilot episode), Mark Hamill, and Cheryl Ladd. The list can go on and on, for the fact that the show was on the air only four years, the amount of famous guests is very impressive.
The Family’s Bus Doesn’t Exist Anymore
After the show ended, the famous colorful family bus was parked behind Lucy’s Tacos on Martin Luther King Blvd, right by USC. However, after many years of lack of care and weather conditions, the bus was officially out of commission and was placed in a dump. We would think that something as iconic as The Partridge Family bus would be considered a relic and would be preserved in a museum or something! So sad. It was truly part of the show and faced such a sad end to its life.
The Partridge Family Inspired A Board Game
Partridge family paraphernalia ranged from lunchboxes, cereal box covers, toys and even (you best believe it) a board game. The colorful children’s game based on the hit 1970s show was released by Milton Bradley in 1971.
Shirley Was the Only One Meant to Sing
Originally, the idea was that Shirley was supposed to be the only cast member to actually sing on the show. However, when producers heard David’s demo, they decided to let him sing along with his step-mother since his voice was just as amazing! Aren’t we glad they did that. We can’t imagine a show without his voice.
Rick Springfield Playing Keith Partridge
When the fourth season was drawing to a close and producers needed to decide if there was going to be a fifth, which of course they very much wanted, they decided that if there was going to be fifth season they would have to replace David Cassidy with Rick Springfield. We must say, although Rick is one good looking guy, there isn’t another man in the world who could be Keith Partridge but David Cassidy! It just was not the same.
Danny Bonaduce Had a Big Problem With His Lines
Danny Bonaduce was badly Dyslexic, making remembering lines very difficult for him. The only thing that saved him was the fact that extraordinarily enough, he also had photographic memory! Danny had no problem with the actual process of remembering his lines, but sometimes they would come out wrong due to his dyslexia. Other cast members had an issue with Danny actually correcting them when they would say their lines wrong!
David Cassidy’s Voice Is Different
David’s voice was actually altered on the show. As with every character who would sing on the show, they were also pre-recorded in a studio. During the process of recording in the studio, the studio would alter David’s voice to sound higher than it actually was, as that was more appealing to audiences.
Shirley Jones Struggled With Her Fame
Shirley’s life was a rollercoaster, she went through many ups and downs because of her fame. She said that “The public continued to find it hard to separate the Partridge family from the real-life actors playing them, which could sometimes cause serious problems in our lives.” This is an issue that many actors face even today, however, back in the 1970s, it was even more hard for fans to separate fiction from reality as the concept of media was so new. Jones was also thought to be David Cassidy’s real mother, which made his actual mother, Evelyn Ward, very upset about.
David Cassidy Grew Up To Have Some Serious Issues
David, like many child stars got himself into a lot of trouble later on in his life. This happens a lot in Hollywood among young actors. David got himself into such a bad place, that he eventually filed for bankruptcy, got himself three DIU’s, struggled with severe alcoholism, and owed creditors more than $400,000. David entered rehab in 2014 for his addictions and has gone through three divorces. Such a sad downward spiral!
The Partridge’s Outsold the Beatles
The music unsurprisingly that was created for the show and released to audiences in records and albums, was incredibly successful. The song, I Think I Love You, that was released in the 1970 album, The Partridge Family Album, shot up the Billboard charts at an unexpected rate, taking the number one spot, and even outselling the Beatles’ single, Let It Be. That is an achievement an a half we must say.
Shirley Jones Had Plenty To Say About Her Co-Stars Singing
Shirley was very vocal about the fact that she thought the other cast members weren’t good enough singers to be in the studio. The only cast members that she thought was good enough to sing was her step-son David Cassidy. She stated that Susan Dey, Danny Bonaduce, Suzanne Crough, Jeremy Gelbwaks and Brian Forster were nowhere near good enough singers to have their voice featured on the show. She was known to be opinionated.
People Thought the Kids Could Really Play Their Instruments
Just like the time fans got confused about the difference between fiction and reality when it came to the star’s lives off-set, so it would happen again when it came to the instrument playing. Fans thought that The Partridge Family actors could actually play the instruments that they were seen playing on set. In fact, the only person out of every actor on set that could actually play an instrument would be David Cassidy. They did a very good job at pretending. We didn’t know either.
Susan Dey was born outside of Peoria, IL and, as a young beautiful girl, became a model. She was then scouted to play Laurie Partridge for The Partridge Family. After becoming well known on the show, Dey then went on to reprise roles in dramas such as L.A. Law, and has even won a Golden Globe for her performance. Dey has also allegedly never shown up to a single Partridge Family reunion. To this day she is still beautiful and has not seemed to age.
David Cassidy was born in New York City to actor parents. Cassidy was put on the show as Keith Partridge because, as producers said, he had “androgynous good looks.” Since then, David Cassidy has gone through a string of high profile divorces, substance abuse, and has distanced himself from his family. He has also come out as saying that he is suffering from dementia. Hollywood can really affect actors.
Susan Dey Suffered from Body-Image Issues
Susan Dey was 18 years old when she landed the role of Laurie Partridge on the show. Before her stint as Laurie, Dey was a model. It wasn’t until she became Laurie that her career took an very fast upward climb. This fast ascension of fame in Hollywood made Dey struggle with body image issues and she began restricting her eating. She dieted to the low point of weighing a mere 92 lbs until one day she realized her problem with Danny Bonaduce’s reaction to seeing her in a bathing suit, looking like little more than a skeletal form. This is the dar side of the industry and happens sadly to many young girls.
Susan Dey Post-Partridge
After The Partridge Family, Susan went on to appear on several television shows, most notable on LA Law. She received several Emmy nominations for her role as Grace Van Owen, as well as a Golden Globe nomination and win for Best Actress. Other than LA Law, Dey was in films like Echo Park, and Bed of Lies. She was also on shows like Hawaii Five-O, and Third Watch. Susan’s last acting job was listed in 2004, she hasn’t been in anything since.
David Cassidy, sadly passed away on November 22 2017 aged 67.The singer-actor had recently been admitted to the intensive care unit of a Florida hospital. He was reportedly in critical condition and suffering from organ failure before he died.”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,” she said. Cassidy’s nephew, Jack Cassidy, tweeted about his uncle’s death, saying “I can’t help but thank God for the joy that he brought to countless millions of people.”
Katie Cassidy spoke out about her father. Admittedly they had their ups and downs. The Arrow actress shared a heartbreaking tweet honoring the late star, who died of organ failure.“Words cant express the solace our family’s received from all the love & support during this trying time,” she stated. “My father’s last words were ‘So much wasted time.’ This will be a daily reminder for me to share my gratitude with those I love as to never waste another minute… Thank you.”
The Truth Comes Out
The Partridge Family star and Katie, 30, had a tumultuous relationship. Katie was raised by her mother, former model Sherry Williams, and her stepfather, Richard Benedon, but David did still play a role in her life growing up. “Because I didn’t raise her, I didn’t have to parent her,” David told PEOPLE in 2009. “I’m always here and totally nonjudgmental.” “To be able to go to someone I’m genetically linked to, tell them anything and know that they’re not going to judge me — it’s unbelievable,” Katie said at the time. “It’s nice when your dad can be your friend.” But it didn’t always stay that way.
Sadly over time, the pair drifted apart. Earlier this year, David confessed in an interview to PEOPLE magazine that the two were no longer in contact.“I wasn’t her father. I was her biological father but I didn’t raise her. She has a completely different life,” he explained. “[But] I’m proud of her. She’s very talented. It’s hard for me to even accept how old she is now.”
In Loving Memory
One of David’s brothers Shaun tweeted in memory of his brother:”When I was a little boy and my big brother would come to visit, the first call of business would be a punishing pillow fight. During the battle, he would regale me with hysterical stories of our father, often culminating in his taking a giant leap off my top bunk. I tried to catch him of course. I always tried to catch him. But I never could. Now, I will carry him, along with all of the funny/sad/extraordinary days we shared, none more filled with love than these last few at his side.”
Partridge Family Condolences
Danny Bonaduce who played Cassidy’s younger brother in The Partridge Family was deeply saddened by his death. He wrote. “I have known, loved, and admired David Cassidy for 48 out of my 58 years. He has been as kind to me as any real brother could ever be. We’ve been through a lot together and he was always there for me. This loss is huge. RIP my dear friend.”
Always To Be Remembered
Alexa PenaVega who worked with Cassidy on “Ruby & the Rockits,” a 2009 TV show created by Shaun Cassidy, David’s half-brother, spoke out after his death and said Cassidy was “an amazing TV daddy.”
Famous singer Marie Osmond took a trip down memory lane when honoring David. She wrote on her social media page “Heartbroken over the passing of David Cassidy. He graced the covers of teen magazines w/ my Brothers in the ‘70s. My condolences to his Family. ” She shared images of old magazine covers with David and her brothers on.
Beach Boys Memory
Brian Wilson, the lead singer of the Beach Boys, said he was “very sad” to hear about Cassidy’s death. “There were times in the mid 1970s when he would come over to my house and we even started writing a song together,” he tweeted. “He was a very talented and nice person.”
In February, David announced that he was suffering from Dementia to Dr Phil. Little did he know that his fate would catch up with him just some mere months later. He stated “When friends of yours or family members begin to say to you, ‘Remember, I just told you this two days ago,’ and there’s no memory of it … that’s when I began to be very concerned,” Cassidy said. “Certainly my dementia has contributed to the reason why I don’t want to go out and I don’t want to hear, ‘Well, he looked like he was drunk.’ I wasn’t.”
The actor, who passed away after suffering acute kidney and liver failure, revealed that his grandfather and his mother both battled the disease. “In the end, the only way I knew she recognized me is with one single tear that would drop from her eye every time I walked into the room… I feared I would end up that way,” he said.
Just before his death, his son Beau wrote on his Facebook page updating the world who were very worried: “David Cassidy is very sick”. This was when the dying singer was waiting for a liver transplant while his organs were shutting down. The American singer and actor who was rushed to hospital with liver failure, was initially put in a medically induced coma so doctors could treat him. However, with his kidneys and liver starting to fail, a donor was urgent and the only thing to save him.
Director Kevin Smith shared a picture from 1990 MTV awards where David and his co star Susan Dey presented an award. He wrote of the singer ‘I grew up in an era before even cable TV, when The Partridge Family was already in reruns. David Cassidy’s Keith was one of my favorite TV characters,’ he wrote. ‘He was legit funny AND he could sing. The man entertained me during my childhood and even years later.’
Gone But Never Forgotten
Actress Marlee Matlin said to Cassidy, “You were so sweet to me and you left us too soon. To me and millions of us you were forever young.” So many celebrity fans were saddened by the news of the actor’s death as he brought so much happiness and beautiful music to the world.
David Cassidy and Susan Dey Dated After the Show
Susan Dey had a longstanding crush on David Cassidy behind the scenes on The Partridge Family. David knew how Susan felt about him but decided not to act on it until after the show finally ended in 1974. The two began dating but the romance was sadly short-lived. Years later Cassidy wrote about their relationship in his autobiography, he went into a lot of detail, perhaps more than Susan would have liked. Susan was so upset about it that she hasn’t spoken to David since. That crushed our hopes.
A family feud?
Although it has been many years since the show ended, it seems that there is still some trouble between some cast members. David Cassidy, who played the part of Keith Partridge on the show, mentioned that while he is in good terms with several of his co-stars, Susan Dey chose to disassociate herself from the show and refuses to attend any mentionable reunion. According to Cassidy, this is partly due to the fact that he allegedly revealed that he and Dey had spent the night together many years ago. Bad move, bad move. We hope she changes her mind.
An Animated Spinoff Was Created
Partridge Family, 2200 A.D. was the animated spinoff of The Partridge Family. Shirley Jones and David Cassidy would not have their names anywhere near the show, and Susan Dey and Danny Bonaduce were limited figures on the show (their voices only of course). The show, like most spinoffs, didn’t do well and went off the air as quickly as it came on. Well they tried.
Danny Bonaduce Had Real Life Family Life Drama
Danny’s home life when he was a child was very rocky. He was both emotionally and physically abused at home when he would return from long days on set. At one point, things got so bad that his co-star, Dave Madden, who played the band manager, took Danny to live with him for a while until it got better. To this day, Danny says he owes Madden much more than he will ever be able to repay him. Now this is co-starring done right, a true family through and through!
Suzanne Crough played the young Tracey Partridge in The Partridge Family, where she was most famous for playing the tambourine. After The Partridge Family ended, she went back to her normal life. She went to college, owned a bookstore, and had two daughters with her husband. She sadly passed away suddenly in 2015, and in loving memory all of her former acting friends came to her service.
Dave Madden had an interesting life to say the least. He was born in Canada but was raised in Terre Haute, Indiana. He then signed up to the Air Force, where his love of comedy enabled him to perform in front of the King of Libya. He would go on to reprise the role of Partridge Family Manager Reuben Kincaid on the hit TV series of the same name. Sadly, Dave Madden died in hospice care in 2014 at the age of 82. His memory will live on.
Danny Bonaduce has the best story out of anyone on the Partridge family. Bonaduce played the role of Danny Partridge, the young band’s bassist, and even received a Child Actor Lifetime Achievement Award for his talents. After being a child star, Danny Bonaduce had a hugely successful radio show, and even then followed that up by doing a brief stint in professional wrestling. His biography is quite incredible.
Shirley Jones and David Cassidy Were Actually Related
On the show, Shirley Partridge is the mother to Keith Partridge. In real life, Shirley is David’s step-mom. To this day the two always shared a strong bond, and Shirley tries to remain as close as she can with David.