David Cassidy, teen idol and star of 70s TV show The Partridge Family, has died. Cassidy, never a darling of the critics was, nevertheless, a massively successful recording artist. At the height of his fame, he was selling more records than Elvis Presley and the Beatles. In 1972, he sold out two shows in one weekend at the Houston Astrodome, performing in front of 112,000 fans. His concert in New York’s Madison Square Garden sold out in one day, resulting in riots after the performance. Concert tours of the United Kingdom included sellout concerts at Wembley Stadium in 1973. A 1974 performance for 33,000 people at Melbourne’s Cricket Ground resulted in such hysteria some called for him to be deported.
Cassidy reached a turning point in live concerts when a gate stampede killed a teenage girl. During a show at London’s White City Stadium on May 26, 1974, over 700 concert goers were injured rushing the stage. Thirty were taken to the hospital, and one, 14-year-old Bernadette Whelan, died four days later at London’s Hammersmith Hospital without regaining consciousness. Cassidy said at the time that this would haunt him until the day he died and contributed to his decision to quit touring and acting in the Partridge Family.
In 1978, Cassidy appeared in an episode of Police Story titled A Chance to Live, receiving an Emmy Award nomination. So impressed with the success of that episode, NBC created a series based on it called David Cassidy: Man Undercover. 10 years later, the FOX TV network launched 21 Jump Street, using Cassidy’s role as a blueprint for the series. 21 Jump Street launched the career of Johnny Depp.
Cassidy and his family had a strong connection to geekdom as well – the DC universe to be exact. In the original Flash series in 1991 he portrayed Mirror Master, a mirror and hologram manipulating criminal. Jack Cassidy, David’s father, portrayed Max Mencken in the 1966 Broadway musical It’s a Bird… It’s a Plane… It’s Superman. David’s half brother Patrick Cassidy reprised that role in a revival of the musical in 2010. Half brother Shaun Cassidy was also a successful recording and performance artist, star of ABC’ late 70s Hardy Boys Mysteries, and producer of science fiction TV shows Invasion and American Gothic, the latter which was nominated for Saturn and Emmy awards.
But it’s his daughter Katie Cassidy who is best known with genre fans. After appearing in several horror movies early in her career, she was cast in The CW’s supernatural drama series Supernatural as Ruby, a demon who was pivotal to the storyline of the show’s season 3. Katie, however, is best known for her role of Laurel Lance/Black Canary on The CW’s Arrow. She’s currently the villainous Black Siren on both Arrow and The Flash.
According to a family statement released by publicist JoAnn Geffen, David Cassidy, who announced earlier this year he’d been diagnosed with dementia, died surrounded by his family in a Fort Lauderdale, Florida, hospital after suffering organ failure.
“David died surrounded by those he loved, with joy in his heart and free from the pain that had gripped him for so long,” the statement said. “Thank you for the abundance and support you have shown him these many years.”
David Cassidy, dead at 67.