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