Today on Dr. Phil, David Cassidy will open up about his struggle with dementia, which he was diagnosed with more than two years ago. Fans of Cassidy might not know that his mother, actress Evelyn Ward, passed away in 2012 from Alzheimers-related dementia.
Read on to learn more about Evelyn Ward .
1. She Passed Away at 89 From Alzheimer’s-Related Dementia
Ward was 89 when she passed away from Alzheimers-related dementia. After her death, David became a spokesperson for the Alzheimer’s Association of America and helped raise awareness for Alzheimer’s and Alzheimer’s-related dementia.
In an interview with Rockcellar Magazine, David spoke about his mother’s battle with the illness. “When you’re affected by something as dramatic and as personal as something like this and you’re the only child–basically other than my son, you’re the only living relative that knows her–you’re exposed to something that is very emotionally difficult. When someone disappears in front of your eyes and every time you see them, there’s less and less and less of them, it’s heartbreaking.”
2. She Started Her Career as a Roxyette in the Early 1940s
Ward started off as just a teenager, dancing with The Roxyettes– today, the group is better known as The Rockettes. The “Roxyettes” were founded in St. Louis in 1925 and brought to NYC by Samuel Roxy Rothafel. They were renamed the Rockettes after opening at Radio City Music Hall.
3. She Was Married Three Times
Ward was married three times. Her first husband, actor Jack Cassidy, is David Cassidy’s father. Evelyn and Jack Cassidy married on June 28, 1948. They met while working on the Broadway musical “The Firebrand of Florence”. Their marriage ended in divorce in 1956, and Cassidy went on to marry actress Shirley Jones.
Her second husband, Elliot Silverstein, was a director, and included Ward in his productions of “Girl Crazy” and “Paint Your Wagon.” Ward and Silverstein had known one another for years; she appeared in his productions in 1955 and 1957, and the two tied the knot in 1961. They divorced seven years later.
Ward’s third husband, Al Williams, passed away in 2005.
4. She Was a Broadway Actress
Ward’s Broadway debut came in “Early to Bed”. Her other Broadway credits include “The Firebrand of Florence” (1945), “Spring in Brazil” with Milton Berle (1945), “Billion Dollar Baby” (1946), “Heaven on Earth (1948) and “Along Fifth Avenue” with Jackie Gleason (1949).
In the world of regional theater, Ward appeared in “Show Boat,” “Where’s Charley?,” “High Button Shoes,” “The Boys From Syracuse,” “The Pajama Game,” “Girl Crazy” and “Paint Your Wagon.”
The actress’s television credits include Man from U.N.C.L.E., Ben Casey, Dr. Kildare, Perry Mason, Mike Hammer, The Furthur Adventures of Ellery Queen, and Hallmark Hall of Fame.
5. David Cassidy Has Spoken out About His Mother’s Illness in Past Interviews
David has spoken about his mother in a number of interviews. In an interview just months before his mother’s passing, he told the Daily Mail, “As people are now living well into their 80s, the cases of dementia and Alzheimer’s are on the increase. My mother has been in 24-hour nursing care for seven years now, and I’m lucky to be able to afford it, but many people aren’t that lucky.”
David went on to explain that after his parents divorced in 1956, his mother “basically raised me for years on her own and worked to support me.” He describes his mother as a “very independent, talented, and loving human being.”