David Cassidy died last night with his family around him. The official cause was organ failure but that followed years of drug abuse and heavy drinking that he had finally tamed in recent years. Burned into my memory: David gazing at me lovingly from Tiger Beat magazine. Anticipation of each new episode of The Partridge Family. Ruining the cover of The Partridge Family Album – my first album – by writing Mrs. David Cassidy all over it. What follows is the post I wrote back in February when David announced he had dementia.
One of the benefits of a career in media, mine anyway, has been that I’ve had the chance to meet many of my idols. My inner child got to shake the hand or hug the upper body of many of the heartthrobs I dreamed about when I was a girl. At the top of the list: Barry Williams (Greg Brady), Donny Osmond and David Cassidy.
When David came into MIX 999 there was a palpable buzz in the air. Suddenly all of the women who worked in offices way down the hall found a reason to migrate to the studio block and just hang around for a while. He isn’t a tall man but he has a tremendous presence. He was accommodating and sweet and posed for every mind-numbing photograph. Sadly, my picture with him is deep in the archives of Standard Radio, if it even still exists at all.
David’s admission this week that he’s suffering the early signs of dementia broke a lot of hearts. At 66, he is giving up live performing now and plans to spend his time with people he cares about, notably his mother, who has advanced dementia. (His grandfather had it, too.) He decided to come forward with the truth after he forgot the lyrics to several songs he’s known for decades during a live performance last weekend.
The night after meeting David when he came to MIX 999 for an interview with Maureen Holloway, my colleague Avery Haines and I drove to Kitchener in a snowstorm to Lulu’s, to see David perform with Danny “Partridge” Bonaduce as his opening act. Danny was trying his hand at stand-up comedy, which was mostly based on his adventures with drugs and a recent run-in with a transvestite hooker. From our seats far away in the legendary, cavernous club, David’s on-stage moves looked cartoonish and silly and I was uncomfortable for him.
“Let’s get closer”, Avery said.
We worked our way through the mainly female crowd and stood closer to the stage. There, his exaggerated physicality looked like what it was: pure fun. He was having the time of his life and as he had told Mo, loved being on stage more than anything. It was an unforgettable night. And I was there.