I slept with my screen sister but she was too innocent for me
David was three; he then married Shirley Jones and had three more sons. Though David got on well with his stepmother and halfbrothers, things were never again right with his father. David never forgave Jack for leaving him and Jack never forgave David for eclipsing his fame.
“He was jealous of Shirley, who was a big star at 21, and then he was jealous of me,” says Cassidy. “I idolised my father. As a personality he was huge. George C Scott said he was the most brilliant talent he’d ever known. But he was also a manic depressive and an alcoholic and he was consumed with Irish Catholic guilt. His own father was a terrible father too.
“I don’t have the pain any more. That’s what analysis does for you. It helped me understand that, emotionally, my dad was crippled.”
One can also imagine how incomprehension compounded Jack’s resentment when David deserted stardom. But David was in bad shape by then. He was getting death threats and had to live with a 24-hour FBI guard. He had his gall bladder removed and fans broke into his hospital room when he was under anaesthetic. In 1974, a 14-year- old girl was injured in a crush at a concert in London’s White City and died of a heart attack.
Two years later, when Jack fell asleep while smoking and died in the ensuing fire, father and son had not spoken for nine months. However, Cassidy remains close to his stepmother. “I don’t see her often but I love her. She was a good role model and friend. She taught me a lot about dealing with fame.”
But in the end, he didn’t want to deal with it at all. He retreated into his own world of guitars, unwise marriages (his first two marriages lasted four and two years) and drugs, though he insists he never became an addict. John Lennon, who had also walked away from fame, became a friend and adviser.
INFACT, Cassidy didn’t stay away that long. After two years off, he returned to television in serious drama series and won an Emmy nomination for an episode of Police Story. He went on to Broadway, performing in Blood Brothers with his half-brother Shaun and with Petula Clark as his mother. “That was the most fulfilling work I’ve ever done,” he says. “The show was dying after only six weeks until we took it on. It was electric.”
Then came the Las Vegas show years, when he put on his own productions. In between, he was still recording albums and even if they didn’t sell as spectacularly well as before, they’ve still helped him rack up total sales of 35 million records worldwide.
He lives now in Florida with his third wife Sue, a successful singersongwriter who has written for Cher and Tina Turner, among others. They have been married for 15 years and have a 15-year- old son, Beau, who is clearly the apple of his daddy’s eye. Cassidy also has a
ALLthe intense hysteria that used to surround a David Cassidy concert seems disturbing to modern eyes; it doesn’t really happen to the same extent any more. But Wendy Wright, 46, who has travelled from Essex to see the man she has adored since puberty, insists: “It was more innocent back then. Nowadays, girls of 13 and 14 are well aware of sexual feelings. When we were that age, we knew something was going on but we couldn’t identify it.”
More than three decades on, Wendy is still capable of phoning