David Cassidy was unquestionably the ultimate teen idol of the 1970s. The Partridge Family heartthrob, who went on to a solo singing career that brought him a bigger fan club than Elvis and The Beatles combined, has passed away at age 67. David Cassidy, who stopped touring earlier this year after telling fans he had been diagnosed with dementia, died at a Fort Lauderdale hospital suffering from liver and kidney failure, according to the New York Times.
Cassidy kicked off his music career with the No. 1 Partridge Family hit, “I Think I Love You” in fall 1970, then shot to superstardom with the solo single, “Cherish,” the following year. David’s face appeared on posters, lunchboxes, and trading cards as he assumed an iconic teen idol title he wasn’t even looking for.
After David Cassidy’s death was announced, his Patridge Family TV brother, Danny Bonaduce, paid tribute to him on social media, writing:
“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.”
David Cassidy’s biggest rival during his early 1970s heyday was Donny Osmond. Both singers sang bubblegum pop music and had songs about puppies: David with “The Puppy Song” and Donny with his signature 1972 ballad “Puppy Love.” Donny Osmond has not yet posted reaction to David Cassidy’s death, but his sister and Donny & Marie co-star, Marie Osmond, tweeted a photo of 1970s teen magazines that featured Cassidy on the cover, writing that she is heartbroken over the death of The Partridge Family icon.
“He graced the covers of teen magazines w/ my Brothers in the ’70s,” Marie wrote. “My condolences to his family.”
Other former teen idols also spoke out on the death of David Cassidy, including Brady Bunch star Maureen McCormick, who once shared time on ABC’s Friday night schedule with David, and Scott Baio, the Happy Days and Joanie Loves Chachi star who also earned teen idol status from an ABC sitcom.
In addition, 1980s teen idol Corey Feldman described David Cassidy as a trailblazer in an era when being a triple threat meant stars had multiple talents. “David broke the mold,” he wrote. Alyssa Milano, an ’80s teen idol on Who’s the Boss, also posted reaction, while Full House idol John Stamos tweeted a photo of David with the caption:“RIP David Cassidy – OG Teen Idol.”
While David Cassidy’s half-brother, Shaun, would go on to teen idol status in his own right, David struggled with the title. In 1972, in an attempt to shed his bubblegum image, David shed his clothes for photographer Annie Leibovitz for a Rolling Stone cover story. The controversial nude photo nearly jeopardized Cassidy’s career on The Partridge Family one year after the fictional TV band was nominated for Best New Artist at the 1971 Grammys.
In the famous interview, Cassidy told Rolling Stone he dreamt of a life away from the spotlight.
“There’ll be a time when this whole thing will be over,” Cassidy said in 1972. “I won’t do concerts anymore, I won’t wake up in the morning feeling drained, and I won’t be working a punch card schedule. I’ve had to sing when I was hoarse….I’ll feel really good when it’s over.”
At the time, David said he had an image in his head of the life he wanted to see for himself in five years.
“I’m living on an island,” Cassidy said.
“The sky is blue, the sun is shining. And I’m smiling, I’m healthy, I’m a family man. I see my skin very brown and leathery, with a bit of growth on my face. My hair is really long, with a lot of grey. I have some grey hair already.”
On May 26, 1974, David Cassidy’s superstar life came crashing down when hundreds of fans rushed the stage at his concert at the White City Stadium in London. Nearly 800 hysterical fans had to be carried out of the arena, and 14-year-old Bernadette Whelan was crushed to death by the crowd. The tragedy halted Cassidy’s career and he was never the same afterward.
David Cassidy later embraced his teen idol status, telling USA Today in 1993, “I used to think of The Partridge Family as an albatross, but it’s given me wings.”
You can see David Cassidy during his heyday as a teen idol below.
[Featured Image by File/AP Images]