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David Cassidy: Fame left me emotionally stunted


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David Cassidy: Fame left me emotionally stunted


by SARAH GRAHAM, Mail Online Last updated at 09:29am on 21st November 2006

davidcassidyguitREX_228x771.jpgOut with the old: David Cassidy with one of the guitars up for auction




His rise to fame in the early Seventies as clean-cut Keith in the Partridge Family made him a teen idol to millions of girls across the world. With a string of hit records and, at one time, a fan club boasting more members than The Beatles and Elvis Presley, David Cassidy appeared to have it all. But by the end of that decade his star had fallen and he was no longer a teen idol. This week, the stage outfits that made so many young girls scream with delight go on display at London's Hard Rock Cafe ahead of a charity auction, while last week he performed for BBC's Children In Need.


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During this interview with David Cassidy, one thing becomes abundantly clear: this man still has it.

From inside the room where the 56-year-old sits, the excited chatter and cheers of fans waiting in the street below can be clearly heard.

But it is no surprise that David's fans still turn up wherever he goes. After all, he has millions around the world.

"I'm used to it," he says. "When I first came over here (to England) in 1972 I was greeted at the airport by thousands of fans. I've met lots of them over the years."

David's fans are not only strong in number but also in loyalty - they have stuck by him through the good and bad times in his career.

After he shot to fame in The Partridge Family, he couldn't go anywhere in the Western world without being mobbed. Like his own idols, The Beatles, he was constantly followed by the press and regularly graced the front pages of newspapers and magazines.

Sick of his squeaky-clean image and his gruelling schedule, he chose to quit the show that made him his name, a decision that left his career in tatters.

"I decided to retire from it. I was performing concerts all over the world and it was before the last of my stadium tours in 1974. I told everybody before I went that was it," he recalls.

"I had no life. I knew it was the only way for me to have people see me as something else, something more than just that idol. As a human being, I was quite emotionally stunted.

"All I had done for five years was work 18 hours a day all over the world. I needed to step back and distance myself from it."

If a rest was what he wanted, it was certainly what he got. Once out of the public gaze, work dried up and he found his career in freefall.

However, a change in direction in the mid Eighties saw David's star rise once again. His comeback saw him performing regularly in theatre and musicals, including a long stint in Las Vegas. On Broadway, he played the lead role in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.

During those years, his personal life was also going through change - with two failed marriages behind him he finally found happiness with his third wife, songwriter Sue Shifrin.

"I've had a great metamorphosis in my life. I struggled for a number of years because I was identified with that image of the Seventies.

"When you have had the kind of fame I had, I was always hounded by the media and I lived a very isolated life. Now it's even more difficult. The world has changed dramatically," he says.

The pressures of fame however were not such a new experience for David. The son of Jack Cassidy, an acclaimed theatre actor and stepson of Shirley Jones, who played his on-screen mother in The Partridge Family, he knew the price of being well-known.

His father, who became an alcoholic, died in 1976 in a house fire. To this day, he remains an idol to David.

As do The Beatles: "They wrote the soundtrack to my childhood. I got to know John quite well and played with him a few times. I've met Paul (McCartney) a few times too."

Like Paul McCartney, David too has gone through divorce.

He says: "I understand he has problems, I've been through two painful divorces so I know how it is.

"I've not read about it but of course I've heard about it and I felt very sorry for him. It's a nasty thing - for your family, the kids and everybody."

David's children - Karen, 20, and son Beau, 16 - came through the experience without too many scars. Karen, a budding actress who has enjoyed roles in films including 'Click' with Adam Sandler, has just landed the role of Lucy Ewing in the new Dallas movie. Beau sings in one of America's biggest choirs.

At least Katie and Beau will have their father to turn to for advice if the pressures become too much for them, particularly now that the cult of celebrity has sky-rocketed.

"We're all obsessed, people now go to such lengths - I've had people hiding in my bushes outside my house!

"I think the pressures (on celebrities) today are the same, I just think there's more of it now. I think it's a very difficult situation. I had it to the extreme.

"The difference now is that the paparazzi get paid fortunes. That's what motivates people, it's about the money, sadly, at anyone's expense."

He adds: "I'm certainly not complaining."

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