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Jack Cassidy Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trivia (31) | Personal Quotes (14)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 5 March 1927Richmond Hill, New York, USA
Date of Death 12 December 1976West Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA  (fire)
Birth NameJohn Edward Joseph Cassidy
Height 5' 10" (1.78 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Jack Cassidy was born on March 5, 1927 in Richmond Hill, New York, USA as John Edward Joseph Cassidy. He was an actor, known for The Hollywood Squares (1965), The Eiger Sanction (1975) and Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol (1962). He was married to Shirley Jones and Evelyn Ward. He died on December 12, 1976 in West Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA.

Spouse (2)

Shirley Jones (5 August 1956 - 26 May 1975) (divorced) (3 children)
Evelyn Ward (28 June 1948 - 2 July 1956) (divorced) (1 child)

Trivia (31)

One of the most Tony-nominated musical actors in Broadway history.
Received help entering show business from a family member who was a contortionist in the circus.
He died when his couch, and subsequently apartment, caught fire after he fell asleep on it with a lit cigarette.
Turned down the role of Ted Baxter on Mary Tyler Moore (1970), but did guest star as Ted Baxter's brother.
Worked as a bell hop, counterman, dishwasher, chauffer, clothing salesman, postal clerk, hotel clerk, stable boy, coal and ice truck handler before getting his big break.
His idol was John Barrymore, whom he played in W.C. Fields and Me (1976).
While researching his Irish ancestry, he discovered his family's crest. He had 6 gold pinky rings made bearing the crest, and gave one to each of his 4 sons and one to his brother. His own ring helped authorities identify his remains. It was later stolen from his son, Patrick Cassidy's house.
Wrote a play, "A Waltz for Willie Ryan".
Father, with Evelyn Ward of son David Cassidy. Father, with Shirley Jones, of sons Shaun Cassidy, Ryan Cassidy and Patrick Cassidy.
Won Broadway's 1964 Tony Award as Best Supporting or Featured Actor (Musical) for "She Loves Me". This was followed with three other Tony nominations in the same category: in 1965 for "Fade Out -- Fade In," and as Best Actor (Musical) in 1966 for "It's a Bird...It's a Plane...It's Superman!" and in 1969 for "Maggie Flynn.".
On June 24, 2005, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce announced he would receive a posthumous star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for live theatre.
The 4th floor penthouse where he died is located at 1221 North Kings Road, West Hollywood.
Portrayed by Malcolm McDowell in The David Cassidy Story (2000).
He was nominated for a 1976 Joseph Jefferson Award for Director of a Play for "Wait Until Dark", at the Drury Lane Theatre North in Chicago, Illinois.
Born to William Cassidy, who was of Irish descent, and Charlotte Koehler, who was of German descent.
His father, William Cassidy, was a railroad engineer.
Graduated from Richmond Hill High School. Took singing lessons with Polly Robertson and was mentored by his uncle, Ben Dova, a former vaudevillian, who organised auditions for him. Jack first appeared, on stage, in the chorus of Michael Todd's "Something For the Boys" in 1943.
In the March 15, 1965 The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (1962) episode, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour: The Photographer and the Undertaker (1965), he played a hit man who disposes of the victim's body by setting fire to his apartment, which was the scene of the murder. This was an attempt to conceal the murder and have the authorities believe that he was the deceased. He later died in a fire, at his home, on December 12, 1976 and was so badly burned that he could only be identified by the unique ring he was wearing.
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.
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).
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 Cassidy that they had to get ready to do a show, and he calmly looked up and said, "I know now that I'm Christ".[.
David Cassidy also 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 Cassidy's death. In her 2013 memoir, Shirley Jones confirms that Cassidy had many same-sex affairs, including one with Cole Porter.
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 1967-68 sitcom He & She, he turned down the role, feeling that it was not right for him; the part went to Ted Knight.
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. Jack Cassidy suffered from bipolar disorder and was an alcoholic, who was displaying increasingly erratic behavior.
Cassidy was approved for a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2005, and fund raising efforts are currently underway to fund the dedication ceremony.
According to Cassidy's ex-wife Shirley Jones, on December 11, 1976, Cassidy asked her over for drinks but she declined his invitation. He then ate dinner alone at an Italian restaurant. Cassidy returned to his apartment by himself, by which time he was drunk. 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.
His remains were cremated and scattered on the Pacific Ocean.
A charred body, burned beyond recognition, was found in the doorway of Cassidy's apartment. As Cassidy's car was missing (it was later returned by a friend who had borrowed it), his family hoped that he had traveled to Palm Springs, which were his intended plans for the following day bur the body was then positively identified as Cassidy's by dental records and by a signet ring that he wore, bearing the Cassidy family crest.
Along with Patrick McGoohan, Robert Culp, George Hamilton and William Shatner, he is one of only five actors to play two or more murderers in Columbo (1971): Ken Franklin in Columbo: Murder by the Book (1971), Riley Greenleaf in Columbo: Publish or Perish (1974) and Columbo: Now You See Him (1976).
Made his Broadway debut at the age of 16 in the chorus of Cole Porter's "Something For The Boys.".
Mother Charlotte was from Hamburg, Germany.

Personal Quotes (14)

Anyway, in Paris, we were thrown together. We'd said we wouldn't see each other any more. But how can you not see each other when you are kissing each other every night on the stage every night? We came back and I asked my wife for a divorce which wasn't the first time...
The rewards of comedy are instant. I have no desire to look out into an audience to see if there are any tears.
I work fast because of the many years of machination when I try to come up with a performance quickly or otherwise somebody was waiting in the wings to replace me. There was no time for all of that (Actor's) workshop approach.
Daytime TV and talk shows also helped me. I am fascinating on all those programs. Full of witty remarks and sly innuendo which I have been preparing all day. Anyway, the ladies love it, and when I tour in a play or musical I do quite well at the box office.
When we reconciled after our other split, I begged her to let us move to a more stable area. But she insisted Beverly Hills schooling was important for the boys. Hell, what about their sense of values. At age 17 Shaun is the owner of a 71 Cadillac convertible.
Christ and the Bible have helped me muddle through the past year. In a way I have become a bit of a recluse and loner. I don't go to parties much anymore. You see, I have been that route. I'm looking for something more.
If I would have stayed with Evelyn [Evelyn Ward], my son, David [David Cassidy], might have turned out better. I wanted to raise him but she wouldn't give him up. That's all right. I don't care if David doesn't want to see me. I have three other sons who still love their father.
You're all rank amateurs when it comes to losing. How about this for a case history? There was a time when an actor friend of mine and I were both starving, waiting for a Broadway break. All of a sudden he got a job in 'Oklahoma!' and stayed with the show for the full seven years of its Broadway run. During that time I was in 15 different shows, nearly all of them flops. I'll say one thing for flops though, you learn from them in a way you never learn from winners. So in a way I am grateful for them.
I'd say the breakup was my fault. We toured together and I had a nervous breakdown.
We try to do as many things as we can that keeps up with the children. If one of us is away, the other is usually at home. I'm a very strict father, but affectionate also. I was raised strictly and I can't shed it. I care about discipline and I think boys need it. That's what's wrong with a lot of kids today; they don't get it. I tell the boys, I can let you go your own way but that ain't love.
The way I look has categorized me. Producers think I can't play a tough character, but I can. The trouble is I don't mess up easily. Even when I don't shave, even when I wear a beard, I still look neat.
We had an apartment in New York but I like living in a house. I put a lot of energy and brickwork into it. We want to buy a farm or a ranch where I can grow some produce and probably have some cattle, get drunk every night and listen to the wind.
Water is humbling. The ocean is a wonderful contradiction of ultimate peace and overwhelming power. It's the vast liquid expanse that makes you feel small.
[on his divorce from Shirley Jones] Oh, I still love Shirley. If I had worked on the marriage, we wouldn't be divorced today. Then, too, Shirley needed to be needed. She felt I wanted her rather than needed her. I wish we hadn't divorced. But when I think of getting together again, I don't have a clue about how to bring about a reconciliation. She's dating someone now and I wouldn't dream of intruding.

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