Patridge Family icon David Cassidy, who tragically died after suffering from multiple organ failure, has two children, Katie and Beau, both of whom have forged careers as performers.
On November 21, 2017, his publicist Jo-Ann Geffen confirmed that Cassidy is dead. His death was expected for days. “David died surrounded by those he loved, with joy in his heart and free from the pain that had gripped him for so long. Thank you for the abundance and support you have shown him these many years,” she said.
TMZ reported on November 18 that David Cassidy was in critical condition in an induced coma with organ failure, a situation that was described as “grim.” He was reported to be near death unless he gets a liver transplant. On November 19, TMZ reported that Cassidy had taken turn for the worse and a liver transplant was now considered “futile.” According to TMZ, “We’re told doctors have summoned David’s immediate family — his son and ex-wife — back to the hospital for what could be their final visit.”
“David is the father of 22 year old Beau, a talented musician, songwriter and performer in his own right, and Katie Cassidy, 26; the beautiful actress is currently starring in ‘Arrow.’ David lives in Fort Lauderdale, FL.,” the former teen idol’s website says. However, David Cassidy admitted in a 2017 interview with People Magazine that he has been distant from his daughter, Katie. David Cassidy’s son, Beau, wrote on November 19 on his father’s Facebook page, “Unfortunately David is very sick. However he is getting the support he needs, surrounded by the people he loves most. Thank you very much for your love and concern that you have expressed in your messages to him.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Cassidy’s Daughter, Katie, Is an Actress & Lifestyle Blogger Who Is a ‘Self-Described Nomad’
David Cassidy’s daughter, Katie, followed her father into the acting business, finding roles in Supernatural and Arrow. The 30-year-old actress plays Laurel Lance/Black Canary in the Arrowverse shows, making appearances on The Flash and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. Katie Cassidy also runs a fashion and lifestyle blog called TomboyKC.
The blog says it is “focused on personal style that is, well, personal. TKC is a place for the smart, opinionated and occasionally sarcastic to join together to talk about the little things while celebrating our differences. Self-proclaimed nomads, when the girls aren’t traveling for work or buying two of everything (one apiece, you see), you can find them on Lynsey’s couch, eating pizza and drinking champagne in men’s pajamas while waxing poetic about the present state of culottes.”
The blog describes Katie as “a film and television actress best known for her roles in Gossip Girl (Juliet Sharp), Supernatural and Melrose Place. She currently stars in the hit CW television series Arrow as Laurel Lance. A Los Angeles native, soulcycle addict and lover of sushi, Katie serves as Tomboy KC’s creative director and namesake. Looking for her? Check the airport or Barney’s.”
In a 2017 interview with People Magazine, though, David Cassidy admitted that he doesn’t have contact with Katie. “I’ve never had a relationship with her,” David Cassidy told the magazine. “I wasn’t her father. I was her biological father but I didn’t raise her. She has a completely different life.” He said he was proud of her, however.
Cassidy’s website chronicles his meteoric rise as a teen idol in the 1970s. “Hailing from a family of actors, mother Evelyn Ward and father Jack Cassidy, his fate as a performer was essentially seeded at a young age. It was by coincidence that he wound up starring with stepmother Shirley Jones in ‘The Partridge Family,'” the website says.
“When ABC cast David Cassidy as its juvenile star in what became an astonishingly successful series, one of the most spectacular careers in the entertainment industry was launched. Before the end of 1970, the year that ‘The Partridge Family’ premiered, David had the #1 selling single of the year and record of the year, and garnered multiple Grammy nominations and won a Golden Apple Award. Over the next five years, membership in his official fan club exceeded that of Elvis Presley and the Beatles.”
The website notes of his later years: “In addition to performing, producing, writing and recording, David has become an active spokesperson and advocate for various Alzheimer’s organizations since his mother suffered and ultimately died from severe dementia. He will be traveling the country speaking on the subject when not touring and performing in concert. David’s other passion, and avocation, lies with the thoroughbred horses that he breeds and races.”
You can read more about Cassidy’s daughter, Katie, here:
2. Cassidy’s Son, Beau, Has Forged a Career as a Performing Artist
According to IMDB, Beau Cassidy, David Cassidy’s son, “caught the performance bug himself” at a young age. “Born in Los Angeles and raised in Fort Lauderdale, FL, he attended high school at the University School of NSU, starring in both musicals and plays including ‘The Wedding Singer,’ ‘The Music Man,’ ‘Copacabana,’ and ‘Pride and Prejudice.’ At the young age of 16, he was cast as Mickey Johnston in Stagedoor Manor’s summer production of Blood Brothers, starring as the same role his father did on Broadway 15 years before,” IMDB reports.
The site described that performance as a breakthrough. “This performance path eventually lead Beau to attend the Boston University School of Theatre, where he spent 2 years starring in ‘A Hatful of Rain’ and David Auburn’s Pulitzer Prize winning play ‘Proof’ amongst others,” reported IMDB, adding, “His recent film credits include starring as Freddy in the Netflix Original horror flick “Mama Claus: Deck the Halls with Guts” and also starring as Jack Wright in the indie short film Meeting Mr. Wright.”
Beau is the son of David Cassidy and his last wife, Sue Shifrin. He is the half brother of Katie Cassidy. ENews reported in early 2017 that David Cassidy, upon being diagnosed with dementia, told his son, Beau, then 26: “I want you to promise me you’ll find a way to let me go. Don’t let me live like that.”
Although estranged from his daughter, David Cassidy told People Magazine that he does have a relationship with Beau. “He’s just one of the best people you’ll ever meet in your life and it’s that that I’m proud of,” he told the magazine in 2017.
3. A Woman Claimed She Was Cassidy’s Illegitimate Daughter
A North Carolina woman once alleged that she was David Cassidy’s illegitimate daughter. In 2013, Radar Online reported that Shelly Wright was making that claim. “Former teen idol David Cassidy fathered a secret daughter during a one-night stand in Tennessee more than thirty years ago!” the site alleged. “That’s the claim that a North Carolina woman, Shelly Wright, is making after suffering through decades of doubt and confusion about her father’s true identity.” Some on social media (see above) believe that Shelly Wright bears a resemblance to Cassidy’s acknowledged daughter, Katie.
The following year, RadarOnline revealed that Shelly Wright was still trying to connect with David Cassidy. Wright’s “attempts have included demanding a DNA test via his publicist – she claims she was tricked with a phony hair – and reaching out to his son, Beau. Now, Wright is making another desperate attempt via an open letter obtained by Radar,” the site reported. The letter said in part, “This is not a gimmick. It’s not a game. I’m frustrated and desperate, and I just want David to know that I’ve been trying to contact him. And I’m not trying to embarrass anyone. It’s not my fault David is a celebrity. Everyone deserves to know who their father is – even if that man is famous.” It’s not clear how the claim was ever resolved.
You can read more about Shelly Wright’s claims here.
4. David Cassidy Was Married Three Times & Some of His Family Relationships Have Been Conflictual at Times
Sue Shifrin was Cassidy’s third wife (they divorced in 2014). Cassidy was previously married to Kay Lenz from 1977-1983 and Meryl Tanz from 1984-1986. Katie Cassidy’s mother is Sherry Williams Benedon. Shifrin, who is in her 60’s, has worked as an executive national vice president and independent consultant for Arbonne, and sells their health and wellness products. She wrote on her profile that she hopes to eliminate animal testing for human products.
ContactMusic reports that, in 2004, there were tensions in the family that boiled over in court. “According to the legal petition filed by her mother, Sherry Benedon, Katie allegedly claims that Cassidy shut her out of his life, and the star, who made millions over the years, has neglected his financial obligations to his daughter,” the site reported. Court documents obtained by Celebrity Justice detailed the alleged acrimony.
There was some contact between father and daughter, though. According to UK Daily Mail, “Katie was raised by her mother Sherry Williams – who was not one of David’s three wives – and her husband Richard Benedon. Katie previously revealed to the Daily Mail that her father once told her that if she wanted to be an actress, she must do it on her own.” The British news site quoted Katie Cassidy as saying, “We didn’t really talk about the business, but he did say, ‘Don’t take a job for the money.’ Of course, I did in the beginning because I needed to survive!”
You can read more about Sue Shifrin Here:
5. David Cassidy Was Surrounded By His Family in the Hospital
As Cassidy’s health deteriorated, he was surrounded by his family in the hospital. “He was in an induced coma but he is currently conscious and surrounded by family,” his rep told UK Express. David Cassidy’s health has been troubled for some time. In early 2017, Cassidy revealed that he had been diagnosed with dementia. “David Cassidy’s tragic family history of dementia has always haunted him; and now it’s here. The former star of TV’s The Partridge Family said Monday he is battling the memory-destroying brain disorder,” USA Today reported at that time.
According to USA Today, “the former teen idol of the 1970s said he decided to stop touring as a musician to concentrate on his health and happiness.” The newspaper quoted him as saying, “I want to focus on what I am, who I am and how I’ve been without any distractions,” he says. “I want to love. I want to enjoy life.”
David Cassidy is best known for his role as Keith on the famous 1970s-era television hit, The Partridge Family. He told People Magazine that both his mother and grandmother struggled with dementia. Of his mother, David Cassidy told People: “In the end, the only way I knew she recognized me is with one single tear that would drop from her eye every time I walked into the room. … I feared I would end up that way.” It’s not clear which family members had rushed to his side.