Squeaky-clean 70s idol, who dreamt of be­ing a rebel, bro­ken by drink

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - OBITUARIES -

SOME pop stars bask in the at­ten­tion of fans – the hys­ter­i­cal scream­ing, the hastily-flung panties and the end­less at­tempts to get close to their idol.

Oth­ers, such as David Cas­sidy, who has died aged 67 after be­ing hos­pi­talised in Florida in the US with or­gan fail­ure, did not.

For years, the teen and pre­teen heart-throb was hounded by mil­lions of devo­tees. They hid in the air-con­di­tion­ing unit of his home, hurled them­selves at his limo and even popped up in his bed.

In Lon­don in the early 1970s at the height of “Cas­sidy­ma­nia”, the Dorch­ester Ho­tel where he was stay­ing was be­sieged by thou­sands of young girls. On his next visit he hired a yacht on the Thames with 24-hour se­cu­rity. But fans jumped in the river and had to be res­cued.

That was just the girls. “I can han­dle them usu­ally by look­ing them in the eye and say­ing: ‘Let go!’’’ Cas­sidy sighed at the time. “But the moth­ers are the worst. They will not let go.’’

Born in Man­hat­tan in 1950, David found fame in 1970 play­ing teenager Keith Par­tridge in The Par­tridge Fam­ily, a sac­cha­rine Amer­i­can TV se­ries about five sib­lings in a band.

At his peak, be­tween 1970 and 1974, he was the high­est-paid solo artist in the world with hits in­clud­ing I Think I Love You, Cher­ish and Could It Be For­ever?

His fan club was big­ger than those of the Bea­tles and Elvis Pres­ley com­bined, while bed­room walls from LA to Syd­ney, Lon­don to Delhi, were plas­tered with posters of him. To­day, hearts – a lit­tle older, a lit­tle harder – are break­ing all around the world.

While his fans dreamed of mar­ry­ing him, he dreamed of a hide­away in Hawaii, of rock­ing like Jimi Hen­drix, us­ing drugs and sleep­ing around like The Rolling Stones and be­ing taken se­ri­ously as an ac­tor. It was a strug­gle that dogged him his en­tire life.

He also felt he was be­ing forced to live a lie as squeaky-clean Keith Par­tridge so he posed naked for Rolling Stone, smoked pot and got drunk in front of the re­porter prompt­ing an in­ter­na­tional out­cry and ab­ject apolo­gies.

It was in 1974 in Lon­don that things came to a head. At a con­cert at the White City Sta­dium a crush left 30 fans in­jured. Bernadette Whe­lan, 14, died four days later. Later that year, aged 24, Cas­sidy re­tired from TV and tour­ing.

Then be­gan his long, slow de­cline. By 1976 he was in ther­apy, bat­tling with bank­ruptcy and the fall­out from two failed mar­riages. He never quite gave up, record­ing and tour­ing again. Then, in 2014, his third mar­riage ended. There were al­co­hol prob­lems and in Fe­bru­ary he re­vealed he was suf­fer­ing from de­men­tia.

Last week, he was in hos­pi­tal await­ing a liver trans­plant. On Tues­day, sur­rounded by fam­ily and friends, he died. Sadly, it couldn’t be for ever. – Daily Mail

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