Despite being the youngest member of The Partridge Family, Suzanne Crough was the first of the family’s members to meet her end. Over the course of her career, Crough remained best known for her role as Tracy Partridge on the musical sitcom. Despite her success on the show, Crough veered from acting later in her life, opening up a bookstore in California. After leading a full life, the retired child star died of a strange cause in 2015. Join Facts Verse as we explore the unusual death of Suzanne Crough, Tracy from The Partridge Family.
Suzanne Crough was born March 6 of 1963. The actress gained mainstream exposure when she was only 7 years old, portraying the youngest daughter on the musical sitcom The Partridge Family. The sitcom followed the exploits of a widowed wife and her five children who all work together in a band. Shirley Jones played the widowed mother, and David Cassidy played the oldest of the five children. The idea for the show inspired by the real life band the Cowsills, which consisted of real life family members. That band was popular around the time The Partridge Family came on the air. And the formula proved to be a gigantic success for the ABC network.
The show ran on Friday nights as part of their main lineup, and ran until August 24, 1974. After that period, reruns of the show remained successful. A big part of the show’s success was the music, which taken fairly seriously at the time. In addition to playing a band on the show, the unit actually functioned as a pop group. The group even nominated for a Grammy Award during the year of their introduction.
Due to the fact that it centered predominantly around a group of child actors, The Partridge Family was always going to be a property with a limited lifespan. Suzanne Crough cast as the youngest of the five Partridge children. And her role in the band was to play the tambourine. While David Cassidy given a readymade career as a teen heartthrob, most other young members of The Partridge Family didn’t go on to much success. Shirley Jones had already been a star for many decades. And her success was a big part of The Partridge Family‘s draw. She had made a name for herself in musical films such as the 1955 film adaptation of the musical Oklahoma!
Danny Bonaduce played the family’s middle child. And stayed in the public consciousness for decades afterwards due to his tabloid exploits and reality television appearances, as well as his VH1 show Breaking Bonaduce. Suzanne Crough could seen making the rounds on television, but nothing ever quite stuck. She gave up acting after an appearance in a 1980 television movie called Children of Divorce. Much of the cast of The Partridge Family returned to voice animated versions of themselves in an animated spin-off immediately after the original show’s end. However, this show not successful and cancelled after only a season.
Suzanne Crough went on to get an education from Los Angeles Pierce College. And decided to open up and begin operating her own book store. Her bookstore was a minor success, staying in business until 1993. During that period of her life, Suzanne met a man named William Condray. The two married in the summer of 1985, and went on to have two daughters. Crough stayed out of the news until 2010, when members of The Partridge Family performed a reunion interview on The Today Show.
During that interview, the retired child actress revealed that she was currently working as a store manger at an OfficeMax in Arizona. It seemed that she was quite happy with her lot in life. And didn’t have any negative feelings about some of her costars decisions to remain in the spotlight. You could say that her life turned out much better than the show’s most successful child, David Cassidy. Although he had a strong career after the show’s run and into his adulthood, he suffered as a result of his fame until his death in 2017.
Although Suzanne met her end before Cassidy, it wasn’t as tragic of a spiral towards it. Cassidy died depressed and confused after years of incredible pain and suffering. Sometimes, a Hollywood career isn’t all it’s cracked up to me, and these contrasting life paths are proof. Despite not being the result of a downward spiral, Suzanne’s death was unusual. Suzanne died of a rare medical phenomenon that occurred seemingly out of nowhere. If you’re enjoying this video so far, be sure to hit the life button to show your support. As well, subscribe to the channel if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse content is on it’s way!
Sometimes after her appearance on The Today Show for her reunion interview, Crough moved to the town of Laughlin, Nevada. It was here that she suddenly died on April 27 of 2015. The police didn’t initially issue a statement reporting the cause of death, which lead to a good deal of suspicion amongst the public. However, they were confident that what had occurred was a medical episode and wasn’t the result of any suspicious activity.
Eventually, the coroner revealed that the cause of death a rare medical phenomenon known as arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia. This phenomenon is a rare form of cardiomyopathy that predominantly affects the right ventricle of the heart, and is thought to the result of a genetic defect. The cause of death baffled many of the medical workers involved, which lead to the elongated time it took for a statement to be released. Some of the former actress’s Partridge Family costars made public sentiments issuing their regards, including Shirley Jones and Danny Bonaduce. Bonaduce expressed his surprise that the first of the Partridge siblings to pass ended up being Susan, saying that “everyone thought [that he’d] be the first Partridge to go”. He went on to express his feelings that “Suzanne was a wonderful lady and a good mom” and that “she [was going to] be missed” by those who loved her.
Before her untimely death, Suzanne had taken some steps towards getting back into the acting game. She signed a contract with VH1 to produce a show called The New Partridge Family in 2004. However, only a pilot filmed for the project before it was cancelled. Suzanne likely only signed on at the behest of Bonaduce, and probably took the cancellation as a blessing in disguise. She was pregnant again around the time, and arguably didn’t need the stress of a VH1 reality show. Still, that didn’t mean that the former child actress still wasn’t interested in starting a new career in her adulthood.
However, things never worked out. The responsibilities of her children made it too hard to commit to roles. And she continually forced to rely on traditional employment. Still, being with her family made it worth it. She is survived by her two daughters, Samantha and Alexandria, a granddaughter, and her longtime husband and partner, William.
Two years after Suzanne’s death, David Cassidy died in 2017. He was announced dead on November 21 of that year, after a strange battle that had started months before. In February of 2017, Cassidy had made the public announcement that he was suffering from dementia. However, he ended up being admitted to the hospital in November for a slightly different reason, that being organ failure. Particularly, David’s liver had given out after years and years of heavy alcohol abuse. In order to continue keeping his pain a secret from his beloved fans, the star lied about the dementia diagnosis. However, he ended up coming clean in the form of a filmed interview that was to air on the A&E channel.
This documentary, titled David Cassidy: The Last Session, proceeded to air in June of 2018. In it, David filmed confessing to faking his dementia in order to cover up his years of drinking. Although Cassidy’s struggles with alcohol had known in the past, the scale to which he still currently dealing with his substance abuse problem kept secret from even his closest family members.
In 2014, David had arrested for his third DUI in the span of only three years. In return, the star ordered to stay for 90 days at a rehab clinic. While most of those around David seemed to feel that the rehab clinic had done it’s job, David had secretly relapsed. He continued drinking behind closed doors, and his problems continued until his death in 2017. David expressed in the A&E interview that he doesn’t blame any for his problems but himself, he “did it to [himself] to cover up the sadness. And the emptiness.” David certainly issn’t the only Partridge sibling that ended up turning to substance abuse later in life. Danny Bonaduce infamously suffered from numerous periods of substance abuse, some of which documented in Breaking Bonaduce.
Although Suzanne was the first of the child actors from The Partridge Family to pass away, she certainly wasn’t the first performer. Dave Madden, who played the family’s manager on the sitcom, passed away a year before her in 2014. On The Partridge Family, Dave provided a lot of the comic relief in his interactions with middle child Danny. He was a beloved character actor outside of his work on the show. And passed away from complications related to myelodysplastic syndrome. In October of 2019, the creator of The Partridge Family, Bernard Slade, died as a result of complications of Lewey body disease. Shirley Jones, the matriarch of the family, is still alive. She has appeared on television as recently as 2016, on the Hallmark movie The Irresistible Blueberry Farm.
For a show that centered around such a happy premise, The Partridge Family seemed to birth a lot of darkness in many of it’s child stars. However, this is a pattern that seems common throughout the Hollywood industry writ large. Comment down below to share your thoughts on whether or not Suzanne was better off in or out of the industry, or whether or not you think she was talented enough for a longer career. As always, like this video to show your support, and subscribe and hit the notification bell if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!