Hello, kittens and dawgs! Three years ago this month, I featured The Partridge Family on Saturday Songsuasion in one of my very first editions. I thought it would be cool to learn what became of The Partridge Family TV show band members in this edition of What ever happened to….?
Let’s begin in reverse order by starting with the youngest family member. Suzanne Crough starred as little Tracy Partridge. After The Partridge Family, Suzanne made several TV movies and guest appearances on TV shows. She graduated from Los Angelo’s Pierce College, married William Condray in 1985, mother of two daughters, bookstore owner, and an OfficeMax manager. It seems her life was normal. I read she expressed an interest in returning to acting after the kids were grown. Sadly, in April 2015 Crough died suddenly at her home in Laughlin, Nevada. I had no clue until now. The reported cause of death was a rare form of cardiomyopathy. She was only 52. I always thought little Tracy was the sweetest, cutest little thing. I know she’s missed by those who love and knew her best.
On the drums is the next youngest Partridge family member, Chris. Two actors played this character role. First Chris played by Jeremy Gelbwaks, but he left at the end of season one and apparently the business. His father’s job transferred him to the east coast the summer of 1971. Gelbwaks wanted to return to show biz. The closest he came was doing the usual Partridge Family reunion stuff. Anything more beyond that wasn’t meant to be for him to make a comeback. His career path lead him down a more stable life as a computer analyst, marriage, and a life in New Orléans, Louisiana. It would be cool to know more about the Gelbwaks. Unfortunately, there is limited info floating around on him in cyberspace. 🙁
Brian Forster starred as Chris #2 and remained with the show through season 4. Forster has some interesting family roots. His father was an actor and his grandfather played Alfred on Batman, but that’s not the most curious bit I learned. What’s really intriguing is he’s the great-great-great-grandson of Charles Dickens. Cool right? Forster did some limited acting after The Partridge Family run was over (and reunions), mostly at a community theater, but I’m not sure if he still acts on stage. What I found sort of neat is Forster was once a race car drive in northern California. You can read this interview on Forster to learn more about him.
Danny Bonaduce played the wise-cracking character of Danny Partridge and I loved his role. I reckon most of us know a little about Bonaduce since the departure of the 70s TV show with his drug and alcohol addiction troubles. That’s so sad, but it seems he got his life on track and is a host of KZOK radio station in Seattle, WA. You watch or listen to his shows, here. He describes himself as a dad, husband, madman, and radio God. He still wears that infectious smile that says, there’s trouble brewing. To keep up with all the news, you can visit Danny Bonaduce Official Site.
Before winning the spot as Laurie Partridge, Susan Dey, was a model. That was new to me, but I remember seeing her in TV ads after the TV show aired. In The Enquirer online, I read an article from 2014 where it mentions a quote from 1993 of her battling anorexia for more than half her life. Geez, I knew she was slender, but had no clue she had an eating disorder. The same piece also mentions she’s a recovering alcoholic. I may remember hearing about her problem with alcohol. I recall reading somewhere she had a crush on David Cassidy, but I never knew until now that they actually dated for a while once the TV series ended. The relationship didn’t go anywhere, though. Aside from four years with The Partridge Family, Dey starred in several other TV shows and her most prominent role in recent years was on the hit TV drama, L.A. Law. If you’re a Susan Dey fan, then you can find her show biz life cataloged at the Everything Susan Dey blog. She has a daughter from her first marriage and is currently married to TV producer, Bernard Sofronski. Outside the entertainment industry, I learned Susan Dey is a board member of the Rape Treatment Center at UCLA Medical Center. She appears to be just as lovely as the girl who played Laurie Partridge.
David Cassidy was the star of the show playing the very cute, Keith Partridge and lead vocalist. I knew this teen idol was crazy popular in the day with ten albums by The Partridge Family on top of five solos. Concerts were a sell out with Cassidymania growing with every appearance. Sadly, a 14-year old girl trampled to death by the crowd at one of his concerts in 1974 became a turning point for Cassidy. That’s when he decided to quit touring and acting; instead devoting his time to recording and songwriting with international success continuing.
Did you know he became the first recording artist to have a hit with, “I Write the Songs” at #20 in the UK? I didn’t know. In 1990, Cassidy returned to the US charts with “Lyin’ to Myself” and I’d be lyin’ to myself if I said I remembered it, but I don’t. Do you?
In 1998 he recorded this adult contemporary hit. Yes, another new-to-me tune.
In 2011, his Then and Now album went platinum internationally; returning Cassidy to the Top 5 in the UK for the first time since 1974.
I thought David Cassidy fell off the face of the planet, but he stayed plenty busy. I just didn’t know it. The in-between years he did some acting on-screen and Broadway. He appeared on Celebrity Apprentice four years ago, which was a happy surprise and the first time I’d seen the teen idol in years. On a personal level, I learned he’s a champion for Alzheimer’s research and prevention when possible because his mother had the disease. He’s dealt with alcohol problems most of his adult life. Divorced and married three times and has a daughter, Katie Cassidy, who is a singer/songwriter. He currently lives in Florida. One of the heart-wrenching things I read is Cassidy filed for bankruptcy in 2015. I hope he finds good fortune again.
Shirley Jones played The Partridge Family mom. Other than Danny Bonaduce, she was the only other cast member to use her real first name for the show. As one of TVs best-loved moms, this is what she said about The Partridge Family.
“The problem with Partridge—though it was great for me and gave me an opportunity to stay home and raise my kids—when my agents came to me and presented it to me, they said if you do a series and it becomes a hit show, you will be that character for the rest of your life and your film career will go into the toilet, which is what happened. But I have no regrets.”
I think the starlet had her priorities straight. The now remarkable 82-year-old Jones has a long list of acting credits consisting of TV shows, musicals, big screen production, and music recordings pre-Partridge Family right up through now. Shirley and Jack Cassidy divorced in the mid-70s. She married Marty Ingels in 1977. I found it interesting that she admits that Jack wanted to get back together on the eve of his death, but she refused to reconcile and admits now had Jack not died that she doesn’t know if she would’ve married Marty. Ingels and Jones had very different personalities, which caused friction in their marriage resulting in several separations, but they managed to hold it together until Ingels death last October from a massive stroke. She said this about her late husband, “He often drove me crazy, but there’s not a day I won’t miss him and love him to my core.” She lives a full life with a career, mother to three (Shaun, Patrick, and Ryan Cassidy) boys, step-mom to David Cassidy, grandma to ten, and keeps active dancing, swimming, politics, traveling, and spending time with family. If you ask me, she sounds a lot like Shirley Partridge still.
A few interesting tidbits on The Partridge Family. The only cast members allowed to sing was Shirley Jones and David Cassidy. Originally the music producer, Wes Farrell, decided that Cassidy would lip sync with the rest of the cast, but he convinced Farrell to give him a try. Good thing that he did, huh? Here are a few more fun things I didn’t know, did you? The P
A few interesting tidbits on The Partridge Family. The only cast members allowed to sing was Shirley Jones and David Cassidy. Originally the music producer, Wes Farrell, decided that Cassidy would lip sync with the rest of the cast, but he convinced Farrell to give him a try. Good thing that he did, huh? Here are a few more fun things I didn’t know, did you? The Partridge Family had a cartoon spin-off, Milton Bradley produced a board game after the show, and Charlton Comics ran TPF featured publication (1971-’73).
Want sort of cool facts can you share about The Partridge Family? Where you crazy over David Cassidy? Did you see him in concert? Do you own any Partridge Family music?
I’ll admit it, I am a fan. Not a screamin’, gone wild kind of fan, but I liked their music and I loved the show. I never saw David Cassidy in person, but I’m sure if given the chance I’m sure I would’ve liked that then. In recent years I finally bought the album, Come On Get Happy! The Very Best Of The Partridge Family (affiliate link) on CD. I don’t know why it took me so long because it has great songs on it!
Show some love for this retro favorite by giving a little tweet-out! Maybe, one of former Partridge Family members will get wind and come by for a little visit. *cross fingers* ?
Have a tunetastic day and please don’t forget to join me for not-so Wordless Wednesday!