Shirley Jones is paying tribute to her late stepson and Partridge Family co-star David Cassidy. Cassidy, who played Jones’ son, Keith Partridge, on the 1970s musical sitcom, has died at age 67 after suffering from liver and kidney failure. David’s mom was Evelyn Ward, but Shirley Jones was married to David’s father, Jack Cassidy, from 1956 to 1974. Jack Cassidy died in 1976 at age 49.
In a poignant statement to Entertainment Tonight, Shirley Jones paid tribute to her late stepson, whom she worked with from 1970 to 1974 on The Partridge Family.
“Long before he played my son on The Partridge Family, David Cassidy was my stepson in real life,” the 83-year-old actress said.
“As a little boy, his sweet sensitivity and wicked sense of humor were already on display, and I will treasure the years we spent working and growing together. I will also find solace knowing that David is now with his dad.”
Shirley also said that her sons with Jack Cassidy — Shaun, Patrick, and Ryan — are “deeply missing their brother today.”
Shirley Jones’ son, Shaun, who became famous in his own right with a pop music career and a starring role on The Hardy Boys, took to social media to remember his half-brother’s visits to their father’s house when they were kids. You can see Shaun’s touching tweets below.
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...— Shaun Cassidy (@shaunpcassidy) November 22, 2017
...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. pic.twitter.com/nc4w9HdTLC— Shaun Cassidy (@shaunpcassidy) November 22, 2017
Shirley Jones and David Cassidy didn’t purposely land on The Partridge Family together. Cassidy, who had an impressive resume of acting spots on shows like Bonanza, The Mod Squad, and Marcus Welby M.D., was surprised to find that Shirley was playing the matriarch on the TV pilot he had signed on to. The two became even closer during the run of the show — and were the only two real singers in the fictional TV band — although Jones divorced David’s father towards the end of The Partridge Family‘s four-season run.
This isn’t the first time Shirley Jones has had to say goodbye to one of her TV children. In 2015, Suzanne Crough, who played youngest Partridge sibling Tracy, passed away suddenly at age 52. At the time, Jones told The Wrap that she was devastated by the loss of her “sweet TV baby.”
“Suzanne Crough … my sweet TV baby for 5 years … only 52 …never a sick day … two adorable children … a devoted husband …everything to live for … just fell asleep at the dining room table and left us forever,” Jones told The Wrap. “Dear God take care of my baby.”
A rep for David Cassidy told ET that the singer will be cremated, and a private memorial is being scheduled for close family and friends in Los Angeles. A public memorial for David Cassidy may occur at a later time.
Take a look at the video below to see Shirley Jones performing with David Cassidy on The Partridge Family.
[Featured Image by Don Liebig/Getty Images]