Cassidy, circa 1960s
|Born||John Joseph Edward Cassidy
March 5, 1927
Richmond Hill, Queens, New York, U.S.
|Died||December 12, 1976
West Hollywood, California, U.S.
|Cause of death||Thermal injuries|
|Relatives||Katie Cassidy (granddaughter)|
|Awards||Tony Award (1964, She Loves Me)|
John Joseph Edward "Jack" Cassidy (March 5, 1927 – December 12, 1976) was an American singer and actor of stage, film, and television.
He was born in Richmond Hill, Queens, New York, the son of Charlotte (née Koehler) and William Cassidy. His father, an engineer at the Long Island Rail Road, was of Irish descent and his mother was of German ancestry.
Cassidy achieved success as a musical performer on Broadway. He appeared in Alive and Kicking, Wish You Were Here, Shangri-La, Maggie Flynn, Fade Out – Fade In, It's a Bird...It's a Plane...It's Superman, and She Loves Me, for which he won a Tony Award. He also received Emmy Award nominations for his television performances in He & She and The Andersonville Trial.
On television, he became a frequent guest star, appearing in such programs as The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Gunsmoke, Bewitched, Get Smart, That Girl, Hawaii Five-O, Match Game and McCloud and three times as a murderer on Columbo, including the acclaimed "Murder By the Book" episode directed by Steven Spielberg. Because that episode was the first one of the first season, Cassidy was the first murder suspect of the series, excluding two previous pilot films.
He co-starred with Ronnie Schell in a television revival of Hellzapoppin'. Cassidy also co-starred as a killer in the movie The Eiger Sanction with Clint Eastwood and provided the voice of Bob Cratchit for the pioneering animated television special Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol.
His frequent professional persona was that of an urbane, super-confident egotist with a dramatic flair, much in the manner of Broadway actor Frank Fay. Cassidy perfected this character to such an extent that he was cast as John Barrymore in the feature film W.C. Fields and Me.
The role of the vain, shallow, buffoon-like newsman Ted Baxter on TV's The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970–1977) was reportedly written with Cassidy in mind. Although Cassidy had played a similar buffoonish character in the 1967-1968 sitcom He & She, he turned down the role, feeling that it was not right for him; the part went to Ted Knight. Cassidy later appeared as a guest star in a 1971 episode as Ted's highly competitive and equally egotistical brother, Hal.
Marriages and children
Cassidy was married twice. His first marriage in 1946 was to actress Evelyn Ward. Together they had a son, David, who later became a teen idol. They divorced in 1956 and in the same year Cassidy married singer and actress Shirley Jones. Cassidy and Jones had three sons, Shaun, Patrick, and Ryan. Cassidy's eldest son David later starred with Jones in the musical sitcom The Partridge Family. Jones and Cassidy divorced in 1974.
In his 1994 autobiography, C'Mon, Get Happy, Cassidy's eldest son David wrote that he became increasingly concerned about his father in the last years of his life. Cassidy suffered from bipolar disorder and was an alcoholic, who was displaying increasingly erratic behavior. In 1974, his neighbors were shocked to see him watering his front lawn naked in the middle of the afternoon. Cassidy's second wife Shirley Jones described a similar incident when she found him sitting naked in a corner, reading a book. Jones said to him that they had to get ready to do a show, and he calmly looked up and said, "I know now that I'm Christ". In December 1974, Cassidy was hospitalized in a psychiatric facility for 48 hours. At that time, Jones found out that he had been previously diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
David Cassidy claimed that his father was bisexual, citing attributed personal accounts and reports, both anecdotal and published, of his father's same-sex affairs, a fact neither he nor his siblings discovered until after his death. In her 2013 memoir, Shirley Jones confirms that Cassidy had many same-sex affairs, including one with Cole Porter.
By 1976, Cassidy was living alone in a penthouse apartment in West Hollywood.
According to ex-wife Shirley Jones, on December 11, 1976, Cassidy asked her over for drinks, but she declined his invitation. He then invited actress and singer Donna Theodore out for a date. According to Theodore in a 1999 interview, which was featured in the Mysteries and Scandals episode on Cassidy, she began noticing strange mood swings in Cassidy, notably one incident in which he ran all over the nightclub to which they had gone. Feeling uncomfortable, she asked him to take her back to her house, which he did. After eating dinner alone at an Italian restaurant, Cassidy returned to his apartment alone, by which time he was drunk, as he had consumed alcohol at various bars across West Hollywood that evening. In the early morning hours of December 12, Cassidy lit a cigarette and fell asleep on his Naugahyde couch. He then dropped the cigarette, which ignited the couch. The flames quickly spread throughout the apartment and the building. At 6:15 a.m., the blaze was discovered by Deputy Sherriff Jon DiMatteo, who evacuated the building and entered Cassidy's apartment. A charred corpse was found in the doorway of the apartment. As Cassidy's car was missing, his family hoped that he had traveled to Palm Springs, as he had apparently intended the following day. But the corpse was soon identified as Cassidy's by dental records and a signet ring that he wore, bearing the Cassidy family crest. The car had been borrowed by a friend, who later returned it. Cassidy's remains were cremated and scattered on the Pacific Ocean.
Cassidy won the 1964 Tony Award for best featured actor in a musical for his role in She Loves Me and was nominated for two Emmy Awards: in 1968 for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Comedy, for He & She, and 1971 for Outstanding Single Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for the film The Andersonville Trial (1970). Cassidy was approved for a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2005, and fundraising efforts are currently underway to fund the dedication ceremony.
Source: Playbill Vault 
- Oklahoma! (1956) (with Shirley Jones), European tour — Curly
- Wonderful Town (July 1958), Brussels World's Fair, Belgium — Robert Baker
- Wonderful Town (1958), London, United Kingdom — Robert Baker
- Wish You Were Here (musical) (1959) (with Shirley Jones), Dallas, Texas — Chick Miller
- Epitaph for George Dillon (1959), Los Angeles, California — George Dillon
- Gypsy (musical) (1962), Dallas, Texas — Herbie
- Mary, Mary (1965), national tour — Dirk Winsten
- Camelot (musical) (1965), national tour — Lancelot
- Wait Until Dark (1967) (with Shirley Jones), national tour — Roat
- The Marriage Band (1972) (with Shirley Jones), Las Vegas, Nevada; and national tour
- Look in Any Window (1961) — Gareth Lowell
- The Chapman Report (1962) — Ted Dyson
- The Cockeyed Cowboys of Calico County (1970) — Roger Hand
- Bunny O'Hare (1971) — Lieutenant Greeley
- The Eiger Sanction (1975) — Miles Mellough
- W.C. Fields and Me (1976) — John Barrymore
- The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover (1977) — Damon Runyon
Shirley Jones and Jack Cassidy albums
- Speaking of Love (1957) Columbia Records
- Brigadoon (1957) Columbia Records
- With Love from Hollywood (1958) Columbia
- Marriage Type Love (1959) RCA Records
- Maggie Flynn (1968) RCA Records
- Showtunes (1995) Sony Music Entertainment
- Essential Masters (2011) Master Classics Records
- Marriage Type Love (2014) Columbia Masterworks Records
- Guest appearances
- "Actor Jack Cassidy Dies In Blaze". Beaver County Times. December 13, 1976. pp. B–16.
- "Jack Cassidy Broadway Credits". Playbill. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
- Cassidy, David; Deffaa, Chip (1994). C'mon, Get Happy ... Fear and Loathing on the Partridge Family Bus. New York: Warner Books. p. 50. ISBN 0-446-39531-5.
- Donnelley, Paul (2003). Fade to Black: A Book of Movie Obituaries. Music Sales Group. p. 144. ISBN 0-711-99512-5.
- Cassidy, David; Deffaa, Chip (1994). C'Mon, Get Happy... Warner Books. p. 214. ISBN 0-446-39531-5.
- Jones, Shirley; Ingels, Marty; Herskowitz, Mickey (1990). Shirley & Marty: An Unlikely Love Story. New York: William Morrow & Company. p. 49. ISBN 0-688-08457-5.
- Cassidy 1994 pp. 204-205
- Jones 1990 p. 52
- McGlone, Jackie (March 24, 2007). "Still a daydreamer". The Scotsman. Retrieved July 6, 2008.
- Jones, Shirley (2013). Shirley Jones: A Memoir. New York: Gallery Books. p. 96. ISBN 978-1-4767-2595-6.
- Jones, Shirley (2013). Shirley Jones: A Memoir. Simon and Schuster. pp. 229–230. ISBN 1-476-72595-0.
- Karanikas Harvey, Diana; Harvey, Jackson (1996). Dead Before Their Time. MetroBooks. p. 104. ISBN 1-567-99284-6.
- Jones 2013 p.229
- Petrucelli, Alan W. (2009). Morbid Curiosity: The Disturbing Demises of the Famous and Infamous. Perigee Trade. pp. 38–39. ISBN 0-399-53527-6.
- "Jack Cassidy Broadway Credits" playbillvault, accessed July 15, 2015
- Clarke, David (May 12, 2014). "BWW CD Reviews: Shirley Jones and Jack Cassidy's MARRIAGE TYPE LOVE is Sweet Nostalgia". BroadwayWorld.com.