Jack Cassidy

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Jack Cassidy
Jack Cassidy circa 1960s.JPG
Cassidy, c. 1967
Born
John Joseph Edward Cassidy

(1927-03-05)March 5, 1927
DiedDecember 12, 1976(1976-12-12) (aged 49)
Cause of deathHouse fire[1]
OccupationActor, singer
Years active1943–1976
Spouse(s)
Children4; including David, Shaun, Patrick Cassidy, Ryan Cassidy
RelativesKatie Cassidy (granddaughter) Beau Cassidy (grandson)
AwardsTony Award, Grammy Award (1964, She Loves Me)

John Joseph Edward Cassidy, known as "Jack", (March 5, 1927 – December 12, 1976) was an American actor and singer known for his work in the theatre, television and films. He received multiple Tony Award nominations and a win as well as a Grammy Award for his work on the Broadway production of the musical She Loves Me. He also received two Primetime Emmy Award nominations. He was the father of teen idols David Cassidy and Shaun Cassidy.

Early life[edit]

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.[2]

Career[edit]

Cassidy achieved success as a musical performer on Broadway.[3] 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.[4]

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, Cannon, Match Game and McCloud and three times as a murderer on Columbo, in the episodes "Murder By the Book" (directed by not yet famous Steven Spielberg, with teleplay by a young Steven Bochco), "Publish or Perish" (1974) and "Now You See Him..." (1976). Jack Cassidy also appeared on Barnaby Jones; episode titled "Murder in the Doll's House (03/25/1973).[4]

He co-starred with Ronnie Schell in a television revival of Hellzapoppin'. Cassidy also co-starred as an informer 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.[4]

His frequent professional persona was an urbane, witty, confident egotist with a dramatic flair, much in the manner of Broadway actor Frank Fay. Cassidy perfected this character to the 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.[5] Cassidy had played a similar buffoonish character in the 1967–1968 sitcom He & She, but 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[6] as Ted's highly competitive and equally egotistical brother Hal.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Marriages and children[edit]

A programme featuring Cassidy and Jones at the White House in 1957

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. Son Shaun also became a teen idol in the late 1970s, starring in The Hardy Boys series, and producing four top-40 records. Jones and Cassidy divorced in 1974.[7]

Mental health[edit]

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. The elder Cassidy, who suffered from bipolar disorder and alcoholism, 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.[8] Cassidy's second wife, Shirley Jones, described a similar incident when she found him sitting naked in a corner of their house, 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".[9] In December 1974, Cassidy was hospitalized in a psychiatric facility for 48 hours.[10] At that time, Jones found out that he had been previously diagnosed with bipolar disorder.[11]

Sexuality[edit]

David Cassidy said his father was bisexual, citing personal accounts and reports, both anecdotal and published, of his father's same-sex affairs, something neither he nor his siblings knew until after the father's death.[12] In her 2013 memoir, Shirley Jones wrote that Cassidy had many same-sex affairs, including one with Cole Porter.[13]

Death[edit]

By 1976, Cassidy was living alone in a penthouse apartment in West Hollywood.

According to ex-wife Shirley Jones, Cassidy asked her over for drinks on December 11, 1976, but she declined. He then invited actress and singer Donna Theodore out for a date, who also declined. 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 maniacally ran around the nightclub they were visiting. Feeling uncomfortable, she ended the date and asked him to take her back home, which he did. After eating dinner alone at a restaurant, Cassidy returned to his apartment alone and drunk, having consumed alcohol at various bars across West Hollywood earlier that evening. He had reportedly been seen drinking at one point with actress Nanette Fabray.

In the early morning hours of December 12, 1976, Cassidy lit a cigarette and fell asleep on his Naugahyde couch.[14] Asleep, he dropped the cigarette, igniting the couch. The flames spread throughout the apartment and building.[7] At 6:15 a.m., the blaze was discovered by Deputy Sheriff John DiMatteo, who evacuated the building, and entered Cassidy's apartment. A smoking, charred corpse was found in the doorway of the apartment. As Cassidy's car was missing,[2] his family hoped that he had traveled to Palm Springs, as he had intended to do the following day. But the corpse was soon identified[15] by his dental records and signet ring that he wore, bearing the Cassidy family crest.[2][16] His car had been borrowed by a friend, who returned it afterwards. Cassidy's remains were cremated and scattered into the Pacific Ocean.[17]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1961 Look in Any Window Gareth Lowell
1962 The Chapman Report Ted Dyson
1970 The Cockeyed Cowboys of Calico County Roger Hand
1971 Bunny O'Hare Lieutenant Greeley
1975 The Eiger Sanction Miles Mellough
1976 W.C. Fields and Me John Barrymore
1977 The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover Damon Runyon

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1957 The United States Steel Hour Performer Episode: Shadow of Evil
1957 Lux Video Theatre Denis/Dr. Steele 2 episodes
1958 Richard Diamond, Private Detective Danny Fortune Episode: The Percentage Takers
1958 Gunsmoke Marcus France Episode: The Gentleman
1960 The Chevy Mystery Show David Townsend Episode: Femme Fatale
1961 Hawaiian Eye Maurice Clifford Episode: Concert in Hawaii
1961 Maverick Roger Cushman Episode: The Art Lovers
1961 Alfred Hitchcock Presents' Mark Lansing Episode: The Pearl Necklace
1961 General Electric Theater Alan Richards Episode: Sis Bowls 'Em Over
1961 Lock-Up Vincent Gibson Episode: Two Wrongs
1961 Wagon Train Dan Palmer Episode: The Nancy Palmer Story
1962 Surfside 6 Val Morton Episode: Who is Sylvia?
1962 Everglades Ron Fairburn Episode: Black Honeymoon
1962 FBI Code 98 Walter Macklin Episode: Television Movie
1962 77 Sunset Strip Dick Arnador Episode: The Bridal Trail Caper
1961–62 Bronco Edward Miller 2 episodes
1962 The Dick Powell Show Roth Episode: The Big Day
1962 Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol Bob Cratchit (voice) Television Movie
1962 Hennesey Chaplain Episode: I Thee Wed
1963 The Wide Country Jerry Manning Episode: The Judas Ghost
1964 Mr. Broadway Allan Episode: The He-She Chemistry
1964 Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo voice Television Movie
1965 The Lucy Show Prof. Zoorkin Episode: Lucy and the Undercover Agent
1965 The Alfred Hitchcock Hour Arthur Mannix Episode: The Photographer and the Undertaker
1967–68 He & She Oscar North 26 episodes
1967 Coronet Blue Spangler Episode: A Charade for Murder
1967 The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. Rock Mussin Episode: The Carpathian Caper Affair
1967 I Spy Nick Fleming Episode: The Trouble with Temple
1968 Get Smart Mr. Bob Episode: The Return of the Ancient Mariner
1968–70 Bewitched Various Roles 2 episodes
1969 That Girl Marty Hines 2 episodes
1970 The Governor & J.J. Mark Ellison Episode: The Making of the Governor
1970 Matt Lincoln Doug Conway Episode: Nina
1970 George M! Jeremiah "Jerry" Cohan Television Movie
1970 The Andersonville Trial Otis Baker Television Movie
1970–72 Love, American Style Performer 3 episodes
1971 Sarge John Michael O'Flaherty Episode: The Eleven O'Clock War
1971 Bonanza Kevin O'Casey Episode: Cassie
1971 The Mary Tyler Moore Show Hal Baxter Episode: Cover Boy
1971 Alias Smith and Jones Harry Wagener Episode: How to Rob a Bank in One Hard Lesson
1971 Columbo Ken Franklin Episode: Murder by the Book
1971 The Powder Room Performer Television Movie
1971 Night Gallery Marius Davis Segment: The Last Laurel
1971 The Mod Squad Perry Lerriko Episode: Kicks Incorporated
1972 Mission: Impossible Orin Kerr Episode: Casino
1972 Your Money or Your Wife Josh Darwin Television Movie
1972 Banyon Grey Gloves Episode: Dead End
1973 Orson Welles Great Mysteries Pennington Episode: For Sale - Silence
1973 Barnaby Jones Craig Woodridge Episode: Murder in the Doll's House
1973 A Time for Love Tom Pierson Television Movie
1974 Fools, Female and Fun Danny Holliday Television Movie
1974 The Phantom of Hollywood Otto Vonner/Karl Vonner Television Movie
1974 Great Performances Paul Sears Episode: June Moon
1974 Columbo Riley Greenleaf Episode: Publish or Perish
1974 Cannon General James O'Hara Episode: Photo Finish
1975 Hawaii Five-O Orrin Morwood Episode: How to Steal a Submarine
1975 Matt Helm Buckman Episode: Murder on Ice
1975 Knuckle Patrick Delafield Television Movie
1975 Death Among Friends Chico Donovan Television Movie
1976 Columbo The Great Santini Episode: Now You See Him...
1977 McCloud Lord Charles Bridges Episode: London Bridges
1977 Benny and Barney: Las Vegas Undercover Jules Rosen Television Movie
1977 The Feather and Father Gang Bishop Episode: The Judas Bug

Stage[edit]

Source: Playbill Vault [3]

Broadway[edit]

Year Title Role Venue
1943 Something for the Boys chorus Alvin Theatre
1944 Sadie Thompson chorus
1946 Around the World chorus Adelphi Theatre
1947 Music in My Heart chorus
1948 Small Wonder ensemble Coronet Theatre
1948 Inside U.S.A. chorus Majestic Theatre
1950 Alive and Kicking ensemble Winter Garden Theatre
1952 South Pacific Richard West Majestic Theatre
1952 Wish You Were Here Chick Miller Imperial Theatre
1954 Sandhog Johnny O'Sullivan Phoenix Theatre
1956 Shangri-La Charles Mallinson Winter Garden Theatre
1957 The Beggar's Opera MacHeath New York City Center
1963 She Loves Me Steven Kodaly Eugene O'Neill Theatre
1964 Fade Out – Fade In Byron Prong Mark Hellinger Theatre
1966 It's a Bird...It's a Plane...It's Superman Max Mencken Alvin Theatre
1968 Maggie Flynn Phineas Flynn ANTA Theatre
1969 The Mundy Scheme Mick Moloney Royale Theatre
1973 Sondheim: A Musical Tribute Performer Concert, Shubert Theater
1975 Murder Among Friends Palmer Forrester Biltmore Theatre

Elsewhere[edit]

Year Title Role Venue
1956 Oklahoma! Curly European tour
1958 Wonderful Town Robert Baker Brussels World's Fair, Belgium
London, United Kingdom
1959 Wish You Were Here Chick Miller Dallas, Texas
1959 Epitaph for George Dillon George Dillon Los Angeles, California
1962 Gypsy Herbie Dallas, Texas
1965 Mary, Mary Dirk Winsten National tour
1965 Camelot Lancelot National tour
1967 Wait Until Dark Roat National tour
1972 The Marriage Band Performer Las Vegas, Nevada; National tour

Awards & Nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
1964 Grammy Awards Best Musical Theater Album She Loves Me Won [18]
1964 Tony Awards Best Featured Actor in a Musical Won [19]
1965 Fade Out - Fade In Nominated
1966 Best Actor in Musical It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Superman Nominated
1969 Maggie Flynn Nominated
1968 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy He & She Nominated [20]
1971 Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series The Andersonville Trial Nominated

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. As of July 2018, he is not listed in their on-line database.

Discography[edit]

Shirley Jones and Jack Cassidy albums

Guest appearances

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Jack Cassidy, Actor, Dies at 49 In Fire at Los Angeles Apartment". The New York Times. December 13, 1976. Retrieved May 31, 2009.
  2. ^ a b c "Actor Jack Cassidy Dies In Blaze". Beaver County Times. December 13, 1976. pp. B-16.
  3. ^ a b "Jack Cassidy Broadway Credits". Playbill. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d "Jack Cassidy". TVGuide.com. TV Guide. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ "Cover Boy".
  7. ^ a b Donnelley, Paul (2003). Fade to Black: A Book of Movie Obituaries. Music Sales Group. p. 144. ISBN 0-711-99512-5.
  8. ^ Cassidy, David; Deffaa, Chip (1994). C'Mon, Get Happy... Warner Books. p. 214. ISBN 0-446-39531-5.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ Cassidy 1994 pp. 204-205
  11. ^ Jones 1990 p. 52
  12. ^ McGlone, Jackie (March 24, 2007). "Still a daydreamer". The Scotsman. Retrieved July 6, 2008.
  13. ^ Jones, Shirley (2013). Shirley Jones: A Memoir. New York: Gallery Books. p. 96. ISBN 978-1-4767-2595-6.
  14. ^ Jones, Shirley (2013). Shirley Jones: A Memoir. Simon and Schuster. pp. 229–230. ISBN 1-476-72595-0.
  15. ^ Karanikas Harvey, Diana; Harvey, Jackson (1996). Dead Before Their Time. MetroBooks. p. 104. ISBN 1-567-99284-6.
  16. ^ Jones 2013 p.229
  17. ^ Petrucelli, Alan W. (2009). Morbid Curiosity: The Disturbing Demises of the Famous and Infamous. Perigee Trade. pp. 38–39. ISBN 0-399-53527-6.
  18. ^ "Jack Cassidy - Awards". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  19. ^ "Jack Cassidy Vault". Playbill.com. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  20. ^ "Jack Cassidy - Awards". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  21. ^ a b Clarke, David (May 12, 2014). "BWW CD Reviews: Shirley Jones and Jack Cassidy's MARRIAGE TYPE LOVE is Sweet Nostalgia". BroadwayWorld.com.

External links[edit]