Shirley Jones and David Cassidy may have played a happy mother and son on the beloved 1970s television series The Partridge Family. But their real-life relationship as stepmother and stepson nowhere near the fairy tale that was portrayed on the show. The common link between the two was Jack Cassidy, David’s father by birth and Shirley’s husband for nearly two decades. Having had a torturous upbringing himself, David perpetuated abuse upon both his first son and Shirley. The abuse inflicted on David would haunt him for the rest of his life. And Shirley would divorce Jack just a few years before his untimely death in a fire of his own causing. Join Facts Verse as we explore the tragic secrets of father-son duo Jack and David Cassidy.
Jack Cassidy was born in New York in 1927. His father, a notorious alcoholic, as well as being a womanizer that could often found cheating on and physically abusing Jack’s mother. Jack also received a good deal of physical abuse from his father. And these were all qualities that Jack would mirror in his own adulthood. Despite Jack’s torturous upbringing, he found himself a young man of many talents. He could act, sing, write and was even an excellent sculptor.
With his many innate talents, Jack ended up becoming a star. He worked on both the stage and television. It was while working on the stage that Jack met the woman that was to become his first wife and the mother of his first child. That woman was Evelyn Ward, a dancer, and choreographer. The two married in 1948 and soon had a son together.
Jack and Evelyn’s wedding famously attended by a variety of notable stars, including Jimmy Stewart and Marlon Brando. However, the presence of these stars didn’t prove an especially good omen for the couple’s marriage. Though Jack and Evelyn would stay married until 1956, their marriage always said to have been a nightmare. Jack exhibited a variety of aberrant mental tendencies that he had learned during his upbringing. And including a propensity for alcohol abuse and cheating. The addition of a child to the equation didn’t help matters, instead, it cemented the transformation of Jack into his father. Not only did Jack engage in extramarital affairs with other women. But he also one-upped his father by engaging in affairs with men.
When David Cassidy was born, Jack took to physically abusing the boy just like his father had done to him. He would womanize by day and then come home and beat his first wife and son. Eventually, Evelyn couldn’t take it anymore and asked for a divorce. Jack would go on to marry Shirley Jones, though his abuse of David would continue.
According to Shirley Jones, she’s aware that David getting abused by his birth father but chose not to ever do anything about it. Similarly, she was aware of her husband’s proclivity for engaging in extramarital affairs. And which he engaged in more during his marriage to Shirley than he had during his marriage to Evelyn. Whether it was due to Jack’s good looks or his talent, Evelyn found herself too in love to challenge him over the course of their nearly two-decade marriage. That is, until the very end! Shirley has recalled that she used to find David huddled up in a corner crying. And she always knew that it was because of something that Jack had done to him. Just as he was during his marriage to Evelyn, Jack was abusing substances, including alcohol.
In later years, David Cassidy also spoke up about the abuse that inflicted upon him by his father. However, David always claimed to admire his father for his talents and recognized that he simply perpetuating a cycle of abuse that had passed down from his own father. Similarly, David didn’t find that much success himself during his personal life as an adult. Both Shirley and David agreed that, although Jack Cassidy had a dark side. He also had a loving side that made it so they couldn’t completely demonize him.
Before meeting Shirley Jones, Jack Cassidy had become a fairly respected actor in the theater and could also seen on television in shows such as Columbo. Shirley Jones was unaware of Jack’s dark side when she met him. But she refused to lose her feelings once she became aware that there were things about the man that she was never going to be able to change. If you’re enjoying this video so far, be sure to hit the like button to show your support! Also, subscribe to the channel if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!
Jack Cassidy and Shirley Jones met while the two were performing together in a European touring production of the musical Oklahoma! They fell in love while working together. Though Jack still married to Evelyn Ward at the time. After his divorce from Evelyn, Jack married Shirley the same year. After Jack and Shirley’s 1956 marriage, they continued acting together and also began having children together. Their first child was born in 1958, between productions of a musical by the name of The Beggar’s Opera that the two were starring in. That child named Shaun, and the couple had two more children over the course of their marriage. Those children named Patrick and Ryan.
In the 1970s, both Shirley Jones and her stepson, David Cassidy, cast in The Partridge Family. Like his father, David had developed some singing talents while growing up that secured him his role on the musical program. Shirley could also sing, having performed for many years in theater alongside her husband. The show cast Shirley as a widowed mother that formed a band with her kids. One of which portrayed by David Cassidy. David proved the show’s breakout star. And becoming a teen idol in his own right that was arguably more successful than the show itself. Jack Cassidy had been successful in his own career up until that point, but he had been no idol. Because of this, he grew envious of his son as he was coming of age, furthering his abuse.
David Cassidy certainly wasn’t the only one that received Jack Cassidy’s ire during the production of The Partridge Family. He also remained abusive to Shirley Jones during this time period, though mainly in the form of numerous infidelities. That actor continued indulging in extramarital affairs with both males and females. With one of his most prominent and long-term male lovers being the composer Cole Porter. Shirley hated the fact that her husband didn’t find her love to be enough. But she loved him so much that she couldn’t find it in herself to let him go until nearly two decades into their tumultuous marriage. Besides a breakup period of a few months during those two decades. The two remained largely together despite Jack’s abusive behaviors.
Shirley loved Jack so much that she even attempted to indulge in his sexual fantasies by partaking in threesomes with male and female companions of his choice. After a handful of these, Shirley decided that she’d rather allow her husband to partake in those kinds of behaviors on his own than do it with him. Eventually, Shirley found it in herself to say goodbye to Jack for good, doing so in 1974.
Like David Cassidy did when he got older. Shirley has always expressed that she still admires Jack even after all the abuse that he perpetrated against her. According to Shirley, Jack taught her what it meant to love. Perhaps the issue was that Jack wasn’t a very good teacher! The first time that Shirley found out that Jack was cheating on her was when she caught him out in public with another woman at a diner. Jack so enamored with the much younger woman that he didn’t even notice Shirley was there, too! Once she found about Jack’s sexual tendencies, it was a slippery slope towards accepting them. Shirley’s therapist advised her that she’d never be able to change the man no matter how much she loved him, which she later accepted.
In 1973, Jack Cassidy was diagnosed with both bipolar disorder and manic depression. This is perhaps part of why Shirley decided to get a divorce from him the following year. Tragically, Jack passed away in a fire in 1976 after passing out with an unlit cigarette in his mouth. This came after a night of partying at several gay bars. Shirley Jones would go on to remarry comedian Marty Ingels. The relationship proved much less one-sided, and Shirley and Marty remained married until Marty’s death in 2015. Shirley is still currently alive, having outlived both Jack and David Cassidy.
Like his father, David was plagued by alcoholism and poor habits when it came to romance in his adult years. The former teen idol was arrested numerous times over the course of his life for alcohol-related offenses, including driving drunk. In addition, he was married three times over the course of his life and had two children. Despite the fact that he was arrested numerous times due to his behavior, David never gave up his addictions. He was addicted to both alcohol and prescription painkillers, and these habits proved his end.
When the health effects that years of substance abuse had taken on him became too apparent to hide, David falsely claimed to be suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. However, it was later revealed that he was actually dying from years of drug and alcohol abuse. He died of organ failure in 2017. At the time of his death, he was 67 years old.
Both Jack and David Cassidy had wanted to do better for their children than their fathers did for them, and both failed. Now it’s time to hear from you: did you know that Jack Cassidy was incredibly abusive towards both wife Shirley Jones and first son David Cassidy during the filming of The Partridge Family, or did you think that their real-life relationships matched what was portrayed in the media? 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!