A&E Network Biography documentary special David Cassidy: The Last Session is an unflinching intimate biography of the late singer as told through his own words in never-before-heard audio tapes from 1976 with a new and gutting final recording session.
Cassidy wanted to record his end days with his thoughts and recollections as best he could.
Late last year while in the studio to record a tribute to his father, Jack Cassidy, David allowed a documentary film crew to film his memories. But then mid-production, he fell gravely ill and revealed to producers his self-induced alcohol poisoning was the root of his failing health including his dementia. During the filming he revealed he lied about his drinking and did the damage to himself.
He says in a recorded phone call: “There is no sign of me having dementia at this stage of my life. It was complete alcohol poisoning. The fact is, I lied about my drinking.”
Just weeks after these tapes were made, Cassidy passed away in November of 2017.
I Think I Love You
Singer and actor David Cassidy’s life was a Roman Candle of success and fame, shooting high in the sky back in the 1970s when everyone who was anyone toted a lunchbox with his face, and dutifully watched The Partridge Family where Cassidy came to fame in 1970.
To say that Keith Partridge on The Partridge Family was a sex symbol or cultural phenomenon is an understatement. Many people harbored a crush on the singer, who performed on the TV series with his real-life stepmother Shirley Jones.
The single I Think I Love You was gasoline on a career in the 1970s that saw Cassidy’s visage plastered on every teen magazine for many months.
His music career from that very song shot like a meteor and put him on top of the charts. He followed it with a single titled Cherish. Selling out huge venues, Cassidy packed Madison Square Garden and the cavernous Houston Astrodome on tours in between TV production filming. He was golden.
Debonair and dashing actor Jack Cassidy was David’s father and his mother was actress Evelyn Ward, who later died in 2012 from dementia. David’s maternal grandfather suffered dementia too.
Also an alcoholic, his dad Jack died in a tragic fire in his apartment after drinking all night. He was just 49 years old. David said of his dad: “My father was bipolar, manic-depressive, alcoholic and a genius. My father was an enormous influence on myself in spite of the fact that he left my mother and I when I was three and a half. I am genetically linked to my father.”
It was the fear that this family disease was something he could not avoid that haunted him to the end, with his mother’s failing health getting to David most. Cassidy watched his mother succumb to the brain-wasting disease and that fueled David’s unchecked drinking, creating a self-induced alcoholic dementia and ultimately causing organ failure which he admits in the A&E documentary.
His Mother’s Son
It was Cassidy’s fear of dementia and ending up like his mother that exacerbated his alcoholism. Before his mother died in 2012 at age 89, Cassidy signed on to be a spokesman for the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America and the Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation, traveling around the nation to tell his personal story about his mother’s dementia.
Cassidy’s personal life suffered over the years. He was divorced three times, and also claimed he had a complicated relationship with eldest daughter Katie, who has starred on Melrose Place and Arrow, but that his relationship with son Beau was fine.
As a consequence of his diagnosis, Cassidy was eventually forced to retire from public performances, especially after a 2017 Agoura, California, Canyon Club appearance that saw him faltering on stage.
“When you work eight times a week, week after week, it does take a toll on you,” he told People magazine in a past interview.
‘Biography’ documentary special “David Cassidy: The Last Session” premieres Monday, June 11 at 9 PM ET/PT on A&E