David Cassidy has announced that he is battling dementia and retiring from performing. Cassidy was one of the all-time-great teen idols, starring with his stepmother Shirley Jones on The Partridge Family, where a fictional TV musical family went on to have a string of No. 1 hits. In more recent years, he has performed on the nostalgia circuit, while receiving a few DUIs and subsequently entering rehab. He filed for bankruptcy in 2015.
Cassidy made his revelation in the pages of People magazine, where he says, “A part of me always knew this was coming,” as he had witnessed what happened when the memory-loss illness struck his mother and grandfather. Now coming to terms with his diagnosis, Cassidy says he will stop touring, as he struggled to remember lyrics to songs he’s been performing for almost five decades in a recent concert. He says: “I want to focus on what I am, who I am and how I’ve been without any distractions… I want to love. I want to enjoy life.”
Cassidy’s father, Jack Cassidy, was also a performer, most famous for stage work and becoming one of Columbo’s most popular and frequent villains. He divorced David’s mother, Evelyn Ward, and eventually married Oklahoma star Shirley Jones. Jones’ subsequent series The Partridge Family helped her stepson ascend to super-stardom with hits like “I Think I Love You” and “I Can Feel Your Heartbeat.” David Cassidy received an Emmy nomination for a 1978 episode of Police Story, and also has appeared in a variety of other series over the years. His most recent TV appearance was a 2013 episode of CSI.
Cassidy’s former TV brother, Danny Bonaduce, immediately tweeted out his support: