David Cassidy, 'Partridge Family' star, '70s teen idol, dies at

David Cassidy, 'Partridge Family' star, '70s teen idol, dies at 67

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David Cassidy, who rose to fame and teen heartthrob as an actor and singer in the 1970s, has died. He was 67. (Source: CNN) David Cassidy, who rose to fame and teen heartthrob as an actor and singer in the 1970s, has died. He was 67. (Source: CNN)
This 1972 file photo shows singer and teen idol David Cassidy. (AP Photo/FILE) This 1972 file photo shows singer and teen idol David Cassidy. (AP Photo/FILE)

(RNN) - David Cassidy, a singer who rose to major teen-heartthrob status in the 1970s with his starring role in TV's "The Partridge Family," died Tuesday after suffering multiple organ failure, his longtime publicist reported. He was 67.

In the early ‘70s, Cassidy became an instant sensation as Keith Partridge on "The Partridge Family," which ran from 1971 to 1974. The show, about a rock band made up of a widow and her five kids, also starred Cassidy’s stepmother, actress Shirley Jones, who was famous for her screen and Broadway roles. Jones married Jack Cassidy, also a singer/actor, in 1956, after he divorced David Cassidy's mother, Evelyn, who was also an actress.

 Cassidy’s fame skyrocketed during  the show's run as he set out on a solo career, releasing five solo albums - including pop hits like "I Think I Love You" - that sold more than 1 million copies internationally and playing to sell-out crowds at venues including the Houston Astrodome, Dodger Stadium and Madison Square Garden. But his super stardom was short-lived.

Rolling Stone, in its "Top 25 Teen Idol Breakout Moments" reported, “From the second the Partridge Family began airing, David Cassidy was an icon to legions of teenage girls. Like many other teen stars, he had soft, feminine features, looked a bit younger than his actual age, and was extremely non-threatening....but it inevitably ended after a few years and Cassidy found himself a has-been before he was 24.”

Cassidy quit touring and acting in The Partridge Family in 1974 to concentrate on recording. While his star faded in the US, he was still a huge name in Great Britain, Germany and Japan. But in an  interview for a British documentary about his stardom, Cassidy admitted he never wanted the adoration and lamented that people weren't aware that he was an actual musician, not just a pop sensation.

"I didn't want to be famous. For me, the ambition was really doing something that made me tick, that made the juices flow," he said. "And that was acting, that was writing, that was singing, that was performing." 

Though his fame was fleeting, Cassidy was nominated for two Grammy Awards, for "I Think I Love You" and "Cherish," and two Emmy Awards, for an episode of "Police Story"  and for his own short-lived TV series, "David Cassidy: Man Undercover," which inspired the hit series "21 Jump Street."

Cassidy was married and divorced three times. He has a son, Beau, from his third marriage, to Sue Shifrin, and a daughter, actress Katie Cassidy, from a relationship with actress Sherry Williams.

Though he would never relive the glory days of Cassidy-mania, he continued to perform on Broadway, in Las Vegas concerts and in TV appearances - including a gig as a contestant on "The Apprentice" in 2011 - through the mid-2000s. In recent years, Cassidy publicly addressed his multiple DUI arrests and addictions. In February, 2017, he revealed that he was suffering from dementia.

After news of his death broke, fellow musicians and actors, friends and fans shared their memories of Cassidy on social media.

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