10 Behind-The-Scenes Secrets From “The Partridge Family”
14th December 2019
I remember growing up and watching The Partridge Family and having the biggest crush on David Cassidy. I was convinced that he and I would get married someday. It seemed like such a tight-knit family on screen, but it turns out there were some behind-the-scenes secrets we didn’t know about. Some of them were sweet, but some of them caused some big issues.
1. Danny Bonaduce Lived With Co-stars
Danny Bonaduce was a bit of a trouble maker on set, but the cast knew there were things going at at home to cause it. Bonaduce’s father was physically and emotionally abusive, and other cast members wanted to help. After realizing what was going on, David Madden (who was the group’s manager, Reuben Kincaid, on the show) invited Bonaduce to live with him when he needed.
However, living with Madden meant being given the chance to experience things that he otherwise might not have been able to. Bonaduce remembers Madden having parties, and he would sneak drinks when people weren’t looking even though he was still underage. Later on in life, substance abuse issues haunted Bonaduce, who was homeless and living in his car by age 16.
2. Jack Cassidy Didn’t Like That The Show Did So Well
Most parents want what’s best for their kids, but Jack Cassidy couldn’t stand his son’s fame. Jack, father of David Cassidy and wife of Shirley Jones (who was also on the show) resented David for the success of the show. See, Jack had been a star before David, and he felt like he was being outshadowed by his son AND his wife. Unfortunately, Jack also suffered from a mental illness and was an alcoholic, so things became very tense between him and David. Jack and Shirley Jones divorced in 1975 due to his behavior, and a year later he passed away in a house fire caused by one of his cigarettes.
3. Shirley Jones And David Cassidy Didn’t Get Along At First
When Jack Cassidy first married Shirley Jones in 1956, David Cassidy wasn’t that thrilled. She was 22 years younger than his dad, and it was strange for David to see him with someone like Jones. The two were very standoffish at first, and when Jones showed up on the set of The Partridge Family, Cassidy had no idea she’d be there. As they worked together over the years, Cassidy and jones became very close in both their personal and professional lives.
4. Susan Dey Had A Massive Crush On David Cassidy
Much like the rest of the female population, Susan Dey had a massive crush on her costar, David Cassidy. It was hard for Dey because Cassidy was such a ladies man and would spend a lot of his time recounting the women he dated or parties he went to. Meanwhile, she was sitting around pining for him. It was all in secret, though, until Shirley Jones finally told Cassidy about Dey’s feelings.
Cassidy and Dey really only went on one date after the show ended in 1974. They laughed about the good times, but ultimately it didn’t work out. Their friendship was strained and after a while, Dey stopped participating in any kind of reunion with the cast.
5. A Fan Died At A David Cassidy Show
David Cassidy toured a lot when he wasn’t filming for The Partridge Family, but one incident made him stop performing in large venues. At a show in London in 1974, there were 35,000 fans packed and excited to see Cassidy. The crowd got rowdy and began surging forward, with 800 people essentially lunging towards the stage. There were numerous injuries and sadly one person died, 14-year-old Bernadette Whelan. Not long after that show, Cassidy began struggling with addiction. At the time he wrote a letter to Whelan’s family, and told reporters “My first reaction was that I was totally brought down. I feel responsible, and yet I don’t feel responsible.”
6. The Original Chris Was Fired
Die-hard fans of the show will know that after the first season of The Partridge Family, the cast looked a little different. The role of Chris Partridge was originally played by Jeremy Gelbwaks, but the cast really didn’t like him. He was unruly on set, always causing trouble, and was just all-around hard to work wih. After just one season, he was replaced by Brian Forster who the cast really liked. He stuck around for the rest of the series.
7. David Cassidy Only Made $600 A Week
When David Cassidy first started out as Keith Partridge, he was only brining in $600 a week. However, as time went on and the show became more successful, he began making $4,000 a week. That may sound like enough, but it turns out the studio was actually shorting Cassidy of what he deserved. There was a contract stipulation that said Cassidy would receive 15% of the merchandising shares, but he only ever received $5,000 of that. The studio apparently gave him a lot of expensive gifts to try and keep him from noticing the lack of pay.
8. Susan Dey Turned Orange
Things haven’t really changed in Hollywood, in that women are still pressured to be “perfect.” When Susan Dey was on TV, she wasn’t used to the national attention. She had previously been a model, and as the show continued Dey was determined to stay thin. She began eating nothing but carrots, but eventually her skin ended up turning orange! At one point Dey weighed only 92lbs, and it wasn’t until Danny Bonaduce said she looked “disgusting” in a bikini that she knew she had a problem. Dey admitted later on in life that she had struggled with anorexia.
9. The Family Bus Is In The Dump
The bus from The Partridge Family was iconic, but now it’s a big hunk of trash. After the show ended the bus was kept near the campus of University of Southern California. However, by 1987 the bus was thrown into a junkyard and completely decrepit.