Patrick Cassidy thankful Boca play gave him time with brother David


David, a massively popular 1970s heartthrob and star of “The Partridge Family”, died Tuesday in Fort Lauderdale.

Until recently, Patrick Cassidy assumed that he was coming to Boca Raton’s The Wick Theatre as “an homage to my dad,” late Broadway and television star Jack, who originated the role Patrick is playing in the theater’s production of “She Loves Me.”

But after a sad but revelatory week here in South Florida, he believes the plan involved another Cassidy — his brother David, who died Tuesday evening in Fort Lauderdale.

“I had never before gotten a regional show in the state of Florida … And I said ‘You’re not gonna believe this, but I’m doing ‘She Loves Me,’” Patrick Cassidy recalled Monday, the day before his brother’s death. “Then I came down here and he took a turn for the worse. And I know that the point of it all, the reason I’m down here, was to be here with my brother, to have five days to sit with him, and talk to him.”

David, the massively popular 1970s heartthrob, star of “The Partridge Family” and singer behind the chart-topping. “I Think I Love You,” revealed earlier this year that he was suffering from dementia and retiring from entertainment. About a week ago, it was announced that the actor and singer was in organ failure and in dire need of a kidney transplant. A Broward County resident, he died in a Fort Lauderdale hospital.

Since his brother’s condition worsened, Patrick says, “my whole family has been here” around 67-year-old David’s bedside. For him, the timing of his show, so close to his ailing brother, has been an unexpected and important gift.

“I’m doing Dad’s role, but I’m here for David, to have been able to sit with him and talk to him,” he says. “It’s such an honor.”

Patrick, along with David and brother Shaun, a successful television producer and director (“Cold Case,” “Blue Bloods,” “Emerald City”) and a former heartthrob in his own right from his days on “The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries,” is part of a continuing family show business legacy. His mother is Academy Award-winning actress Shirley Jones, who was her stepson David’s “Partridge Family” co-star, while David’s daughter Katie Cassidy has starred on the CW’s “Arrow” and “The Flash.” Their brother Ryan has worked as an actor and as a set designer on television shows including “The King of Queens,” and Patrick’s son, Jack Gordon Cassidy, was a contestant earlier this year on NBC’s “The Voice.”

“I teach at colleges, and if the younger performers in this show don’t know who David or Shaun are, I explain it like this,” Patrick says. “I say ‘My brother David, from 1970 to 1974, was The Beatles. There was no bigger star on the planet. And from 1977 to 1980, my brother Shaun was like Justin Bieber.”

Patrick, now 55, also entered show business young, with roles spanning television, movies and stage, including Johnny Castle, a part originated by Patrick Swayze, in a short-lived TV version of “Dirty Dancing,” the touring and Broadway productions of “The Pirates of Penzance” and in “42nd Street,” and a recurring role as Lana Lang’s biological father on “Smallville.”

He says he was intrigued when approached by The Wick to play the sly Stephen Kodaly in “She Loves Me” “because I had never played one of my dad’s parts before,” having pulled out a chance to play Stephen a decade ago in order to shoot a TV pilot for Warner Brothers. Now, he says, “I had to do it. It was the one that made (Jack Cassidy), that made him very successful and very famous.”

Besides a physical resemblance to his father, who, like Patrick, began graying early, the actor says he planned to “channel everything I knew about him” into the role of Stephen, “a womanizing cad who wasn’t even the lead. There’s a gift my father possessed, to make those types of characters likable. You want to be a likable cad, because at least he’s charming and fun. It’s so him. So many of the lyrics and pieces of dialogue were crafted around what he did … He had a big smile (full of teeth) on his face. A reviewer wrote ‘Jack Cassidy’s teeth were dancing across the stage.”

Patrick Cassidy says that he bears physical similarities to his father and plays them up in “She Loves Me” and when he references him in his one-man show. “My father has been gone over 39 years, but he still lives in each one of us … But David (had) so much of my father in him, all of his mannerisms … his facial gestures.”

There will be even more family spirit woven into his time here. Mother Shirley Jones will be attending Saturday’s opening night, and he’s also going to do his new cabaret act, “Just Another Family Tree.” That show, featuring Cassidy family photos and clips, happens to be on Dec. 12 at the Wick, the 41st anniversary of his father’s death. 

The brothers Cassidy had always been close, Patrick says, with David as “my best friend.” But at the time he was cast in “She Loves Me,” the brothers “had spent a time out of contact,” for reasons Patrick does not elaborate on, for an amount of time he prefers not to specify except to say that “it was significant.”

But that changed “about three months ago, when David called me and it was like nothing had changed, like no time had passed,” he says. Patrick says he considered it a bit of schedule-based kismet to be doing this particular part, so close to his brother. But when David became so ill, “as fragile as he was, it’s been a remarkable reunion, with my whole family. I can thank The Wick and ‘She Loves Me’ for that.”

“Even my brother Shaun said that to me, that ‘It is so perfect that you’re down there doing that show in honor of Dad,’” Patrick says. “That was my whole attitude about it. But now, there are three of us playing the part - me, my dad and David.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Community

Former addict aims to helpothers on road to recovery
Former addict aims to helpothers on road to recovery

Long before the U.S. was gripped in its current opioid epidemic, Tim Schnellenberger had battled — and recovered from — his own substance addiction. Now 50 and recently married, Schnellenberger — one of legendary football coach Howard Schnellenberger’s three sons — attained sobriety in 2000 and has been on a mission ever...
Hall and Oates, Train to kick off summer arena tour together
Hall and Oates, Train to kick off summer arena tour together

First it was Journey and Def Leppard, now Hall and Oates and Train have announced the bands will be doing a tour together this summer. According to Rolling Stone, both groups will play full sets before they both take the stage for the finale.  Tickets go on sale for most of the North American tour dates on Jan. 29 at 10 a.m. on Live...
My Sam’s Club is closing! What shall I do?
My Sam’s Club is closing! What shall I do?

When a friend posted on Facebook that her North Carolina Sam’s Club was closing, I felt for her but smugly thought that my Lantana Sam’s would never close. A heck of a lot more people live in Florida than in North Carolina, and I was doing my best to keep my Sam’s in business all by myself. My smugness quickly evaporated the following...
Trump wedding anniversary: the president’s extravagant gifts
Trump wedding anniversary: the president’s extravagant gifts

Editor’s note: This story originally published Jan. 22, 2017.  Whatever else you say about our newly inaugurated president, one thing’s for sure: Donald Trump knows how to give anniversary gifts. For the 10th anniversary of his Palm Beach wedding to his wife, Melania, he presented her with a blinding 25-carat diamond...
Jimmy Webb: ‘Special night of music,’ salute to Glen Campbell in Delray
Jimmy Webb: ‘Special night of music,’ salute to Glen Campbell in Delray

He’s not searching in the sun for another overload. He’ll just settle for some sun. Singer-songwriter Jimmy Webb, the man who wrote “Wichita Lineman,” “By The Time I Get to Phoenix,” “MacArthur Park” and many other hits, is appearing Wednesday at the Crest Theater in Delray Beach. “I’m looking...
More Stories