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First David, Then Shaun and Now Patrick—the Cassidy Galaxy Is Still Spinning Off Stars

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For 19-year-old Patrick Cassidy, nothing would have been easier than taking his place among the Plasticine immortals of bubble-gum rock, like brother Shaun and half-brother David. So why is he toiling in the national company of The Pirates of Penzance and looking forward to his arrival on Broadway? “My brothers didn’t want me to do just music and I didn’t either,” says Patrick. “They don’t regret the whole teeny thing—they had fun—but they said if I wanted to be an actor, the theater was the best place for me.”

Patrick isn’t the only Pirate with fraternal connections; Jim Belushi, 27, John’s brother, has also joined the Penzance crew in San Francisco, and other cast members at first looked askance at the newcomers. “I think I got the part a little too fast for my taste,” Patrick concedes. “The singing alone is so demanding—I’m a baritone and the part [Frederic] is really for a tenor, and I’m a very young singer.” Critics tend to agree with him on that point, but Shaun, who came up from L.A. on opening night, gave his brother an unqualified rave. “He did terrifically,” said Shaun. “I was very proud and impressed.”

The Cassidy brothers have always been close and mutually reassuring in moments of crisis. Says Patrick: “My biggest problem is believing in myself. I admire Shaun. He isn’t cocky, but he has a very good idea of who he is.” Patrick, Shaun, 23, and brother Ryan, 15, are all Hollywood brats, the sons of actress Shirley Jones and the late actor Jack Cassidy, while David, 31, Cassidy’s son by a first marriage, grew up in New Jersey. Symbolic of the bond linking the four is the Cassidy crest ring their father gave each of them just before his accidental death in an apartment fire in 1976. “I didn’t realize until I got older how important he was in the’ theater,” Patrick says of Jack, who won a Tony for She Loves Me in 1964. “I wish I could talk to him about it.”

Patrick’s parents filed for divorce in 1974, and it took a long time, he admits, before he overcame his resentment of his stepfather, comic-turned-agent Marty Ingels. “Finally Marty came to me and said, ‘I’ve tried everything with you and you just won’t accept me, so I’m not going to try anymore,’ ” he recalls. “It was true. I’d never given him that opportunity. After that I realized I was being a total ding-dong and things just got better.”

That capacity for growth should come in handy as Patrick struggles to come to terms with his craft. Since his graduation from Beverly Hills High only 17 months ago, his only professional experience has come in an L.A. stage production, two made-for-TV movies, an NBC series pilot and Off the Wall, a forthcoming feature. After playing Pirates in San Francisco through the end of the year, Cassidy will replace Robby Benson in the show on Broadway in January. For now, he is living in the Nob Hill section of San Francisco, alone and unencumbered romantically after breaking up with his steady of more than two years. But Cassidy has no intention of playing the field. “I’m not the dating type,” he maintains. “I’ve always been a one-person person.” In fact, the theater may be passion enough for the moment. “The first time I performed, I decided, ‘There’s nothing better than this,’ ” Patrick explains. “When the audience applauds you, it’s a high that can’t be beat.”