David Cassidy, 1970s teen heartthrob of The Partridge Family, dies at 67

David Cassidy performing in a concert at Madison Square Garden in New York, on March 11, 1972.
David Cassidy performing in a concert at Madison Square Garden in New York, on March 11, 1972.PHOTO: NYT
David Cassidy had entered a hospital last week for treatment of liver failure.
David Cassidy had entered a hospital last week for treatment of liver failure.PHOTO: FACEBOOK / DAVID CASSIDY

Los Angeles (NYTimes, Reuters) - David Cassidy, the actor and teen heartthrob best known for his role as the musician with the green eyes and the feathered haircut on the 1970s television sitcom The Partridge Family, died on Tuesday (Nov 21). He was 67.

He was hospitalised over the weekend for treatment of liver failure. He died in the intensive care unit of a Florida hospital, his publicist Jo-Ann Geffen said.

She released a statement from his family that said he died surrounded by family "with joy in his heart and free from the pain that had gripped him for so long".

Cassidy rose to fame on The Partridge Family playing Keith Partridge, the eldest of five children in a family that forms a band and goes on tour. His character, a high school student, was periodically swooned over by young women as he learned to navigate his newfound fame.

The series ran from 1970 to 1974 and turned Cassidy into a star with hordes of adoring fans. But the young actor and musician struggled with the paradoxical isolation of a life lived in the spotlight.

"Oh, they're cute. They get flustered and I get flustered, and it's all kind of fun," he said of his devotees in 1972, when he was 21. "But it's no fun when they rip your clothes and take rooms next door in hotels and keep pounding on the door and slipping notes under it."

In an attempt to spice up his squeaky-clean image, Cassidy posed provocatively in a photo shoot for Rolling Stone in 1972. In the cover story, he said he was already dreaming about the end of his acting career.

"I'll feel really good when it's over," he said. "I have an image of myself in five years. I'm living on an island. The sky is blue, the sun is shining. And I'm smiling, I'm healthy, I'm a family man."

He was also a musician, performing in concert as a guitarist as recently as this year. His solo songs never matched the chart-topping popularity of his earlier work as a part of The Partridge Family, including the 1970 hit single I Think I Love You.

In later years, he wrote books about the toll stardom had taken on him, and about his own struggles with substance abuse. He revealed this year that he had dementia.

After watching his mother struggle with dementia, he worked with organisations to educate others about Alzheimer's disease.

Cassidy was born in New Jersey to actors Jack Cassidy and Evelyn Ward and moved to California as a teenager. He struggled in school but began taking small parts in plays and on television, eventually leading to his big break on The Partridge Family.

He worked on several other television series. A 1978 appearance on Police Story earned him an Emmy Award nomination, and he was fired by Donald J. Trump on The Apprentice in 2011.

Cassidy was married and divorced three times. He is survived by his son Beau, a musician; his daughter Katie, an actress; his Partridge Family co-star and real-life stepmother, Shirley Jones; and three half-brothers: Patrick, Ryan and Shaun.

Correction note: An earlier version of this obituary misspelt the given name of one of David Cassidy’s half brothers as Sean, instead of Shaun, and the surname of his mother as Wood, instead of  Ward. We are sorry for the errors.