I slept with my screen sis­ter but she was too in­no­cent for me

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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

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