David Cassidy’s family is taking action against bootleggers who are selling unauthorized merchandise in the three weeks following the Partridge Family superstar’s death—including a tasteless T-shirt that features his reported final words to his family.
In an interview with CNBC, Cassidy’s ex-wife, Sue Shifrin, revealed that unauthorized David Cassidy merchandise sales have been taking place on various websites ever since the 67-year-old singer’s untimely death on Nov. 21. Shifrin revealed that she was shocked to find that the sales included a T-shirt with David’s last words, “So much wasted time,” printed on them.
David Cassidy’s daughter, actress Katie Cassidy, posted her dad’s final words in a social media tribute to him, but according to Shifrin, the words were meant for the ears of her and her son, Beau, only.
“To take his last words and merchandise it is unnerving to me,” Shifrin told CNBC.
“Words that were said to my son and me… It was a private moment and to have people making money off of that makes me wonder what kind of people have we become.”
David Cassidy’s ex-wife says she is “infuriated” over what she considers to be “virtual grave robbing.”
“People take it upon themselves to make a buck. They don’t care how the family feels,” Cassidy’s ex said.
Sue Shifrin first appealed to fans to stay away from the bootlegged merchandise just one week after David’s death. In a Facebook post also signed by Cassidy’s brothers Ryan, Patrick, and Shaun, Shifrin shared that there was merchandise on Facebook with David’s name and likeness, but the sellers did not have permission to sell the merchandise and “make money off of our loved one.”
“This is so wrong and so hurtful to the family,” the Cassidy family wrote. “If you are a true David Cassidy fan, we implore you to help us stop this practice.”
Sue Shifrin also posted on her Twitter page, telling fans it is in “the poorest of taste” to see people trying to make money off of David Cassidy’s death.
According to CNBC, David Cassidy’s family has now hired Los Angeles law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips to issue cease and desist notices to unauthorized online sellers. Numerous sellers have already been shut down after being warned that the “prominent use of Mr. Cassidy’s name to sell these T-shirts infringes its common law trademark rights.”
During his lifetime, David Cassidy had a long battle of his own when it came to unauthorized merchandise sales. The singer, who skyrocketed to teen idol status during his early ’70s heyday on The Partridge Family, sued Sony in 2011 over the unauthorized use of his likeness on 40 years worth of Partridge Family memorabilia, including lunchboxes, paper dolls, books, and board games. Cassidy filed the suit after resurrecting his old Screen Gems contract and realizing he had been grossly underpaid. Merchandise from the Partridge Family reportedly generated nearly $500 million, but Cassidy was paid only $5,000.
“It’s just a matter of being fair, and doing the right thing,” Cassidy said of his lawsuit. “I have no other alternative if Sony is not going to be reasonable.”
Cassidy was later awarded just a fraction of the millions he sought in the suit.
At the height of his success, David Cassidy received an average of 30,000 fan letters a week and had a larger fan club than Elvis Presley and The Beatles combined.