Remembering David Cassidy: His Life in Pictures
AN AMERICAN IDOL
David Cassidy rose to fame in the 1970s as the star of musical TV series The Partridge Family. The singer and actor — who has been hospitalized for liver and kidney failure and is currently in critical condition — enjoyed decades of success in the music industry, but behind the scenes weathered relationship woes and battled personal demons.
Cassidy was born April 12, 1950, in New York City to actress Evelyn Ward (pictured with her son) and singer and actor Jack Cassidy. David kicked off his professional acting career on Broadway's The Fig Leaves Are Falling at the age of 19.
THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY
In 1970 Cassidy, then 20, made his debut on The Partridge Family, an ABC musical-sitcom about a widowed mother who starts a band with her five children. The series was a hit and ran for four seasons.
A FAMILY AFFAIR
Cassidy's Partridge Family mom was played by his real-life stepmother Shirley Jones, who married Cassidy's father in 1956. Cassidy (center) attended the 1975 Grammy Awards with (from left) his date Lynn Dubiou, Jones and his father.
OUT ON HIS OWN
Cassidy (pictured with Shirley Jones) became the biggest star of Partridge Family and began a solo career long before the series came to an end in 1975.
Selling out arenas around the world, the media was quick to name the phenomenon "Cassidymania" — a term which Cassidy (seen in 1973) was hesitant to embrace.
A TRAGEDY ON TOUR
In 1974, what started out as excitement to see Cassidy sing live in London's White City Stadium quickly turned into tragedy. An 800-person stampede occurred at his show, killing one teenage girl. "I feel burnt up inside," he told the Daily Mail later that year. "I'm 24, a big star ... in a position that millions dream of, but the truth is I just can't enjoy it."
A NEW CHAPTER
Soon after, Cassidy decided to stop touring and acting and focus his energy towards songwriting and recording.
Cassidy wed his first wife, actress Kay Lenz, on April 3, 1977, but they separated in 1981. “Kay had her own life, and I had different needs," Cassidy told PEOPLE in 1983.
ANOTHER SHOT AT ROMANCE
Cassidy met horse breeder Meryl Tanz at a horse sale in 1974. “Basically, she hated me,” Cassidy told PEOPLE in 1983. “I got more attention than she did.” They wed in 1984 and divorced in 1985.
NEW KINDS OF SUCCESS
Cassidy went on to work in the studio with artists like George Michael (center in 1985 with Cassidy, left, and Mike Nolan).
HIS FINAL LOVE
Cassidy and his third wife had one child together, son Beau, 26. Cassidy first became a father in 1986 when Sherry Williams Benedon gave birth to their daughter, Arrow actress Katie Cassidy. “I’ve never had a relationship with her,” David had said of Katie's early years. “I wasn’t her father. I was her biological father but I didn’t raise her. She has a completely different life.”
But they developed a relationship later in life. “He’s just one of the best people you’ll ever meet in your life and it’s that that I’m proud of," Katie (with her dad in 2007) has said.
HIS FINAL YEARS
In February 2017, Cassidy (in March) exclusively revealed to PEOPLE that he was battling dementia. Cassidy had watched his grandfather battle the disease and witnessed his mother “disappear” into dementia until she died at age 89. “I was in denial, but a part of me always knew this was coming," he said of his diagnosis.