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Jack Cassidy

Jack Cassidy

Jack Cassidy


John Joseph Edward “Jack” Cassidy (March 5, 1927 – December 12, 1976) was an American actor of stage, film and screen. His frequent professional persona was that of an urbane, super-confident egotist with a dramatic flair, much in the manner of Broadway actor Frank Fay. Cassidy perfected this character to such an extent that he was cast as the legendary John Barrymore in the feature film W.C. Fields and Me. The role of the vain, shallow, buffoon-like Read more on Last.fm
John Joseph Edward “Jack” Cassidy (March 5, 1927 – December 12, 1976) was an American actor of stage, film and screen. His frequent professional persona was that of an urbane, super-confident egotist with a dramatic flair, much in the manner of Broadway actor Frank Fay. Cassidy perfected this character to such an extent that he was cast as the legendary John Barrymore in the feature film W.C. Fields and Me. The role of the vain, shallow, buffoon-like newsman Ted Baxter on TV's The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970–1977) was written with Cassidy in mind.

However, Cassidy turned down the role, feeling that it was not right for him, and the part went to Ted Knight. Cassidy later appeared as a guest star in a 1971 episode as Ted's highly competitive and equally egocentric brother, Hal. Cassidy was born in Richmond Hill, New York to William Cassidy, who was of Irish descent, and Charlotte Koehler, who was of German descent. He achieved his greatest success as a musical performer on Broadway, appearing in Alive and Kicking, Wish You Were Here, Shangri-La, Maggie Flynn, Fade Out - Fade In, It's a Bird...It's a Plane...It's Superman, and She Loves Me, for which he won a Tony Award. He also received Emmy Award nominations for his television performances in He & She and The Andersonville Trial. On television he became a frequent guest star, appearing in such programs as Bewitched, Get Smart, That Girl, Columbo, Hawaii Five-O, Match Game and McCloud.

He lent his charming wit to game shows, and co-starred with Ronnie Schell in a TV revival of Hellzapoppin'. Cassidy also co-starred in the movie The Eiger Sanction with Clint Eastwood. Cassidy was married twice. His first wife was actress Evelyn Ward. Together they had a son, David Cassidy.

After divorcing in 1956, Jack married actress Shirley Jones. David and Shirley later starred together in the sitcom The Partridge Family. Jack and Shirley had three sons, Shaun, Patrick, and Ryan, and divorced in 1974. In his 1994 autobiography, C'Mon, Get Happy, David wrote that he became increasingly concerned about his father in the last years of his life. He suffered from alcoholism and displayed increasingly erratic behavior.

In 1974, his neighbors were shocked to see him watering his front lawn naked in the middle of the afternoon. 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". In December 1974, he was hospitalized in a psychiatric facility for 48 hours.

At that time, Jones found out that he had been previously diagnosed with bipolar disorder. David wrote about his father's bisexuality in his autobiography, a fact he discovered only after his father's death. In 1976, Cassidy was living alone in an apartment in West Hollywood, California. Some time in the early morning hours of December 12, 1976, he lit a cigarette and fell asleep or passed out on a couch, which then caught fire and the flames spread throughout the apartment. His body was found on the floor, as if he had been trying to crawl to the sliding glass doors but was overcome by smoke inhalation.

He was officially identified by the signet ring he wore, bearing the Cassidy family crest. He had had six of these rings made (one each for his four sons, one for his brother, and one for himself) while researching his family history.[8] Coincidentally, he had starred in a 1971 episode of the TV series Night Gallery, called "The Last Laurel", in which he played a character who accidentally killed himself while sleeping. Notable Broadway performances Around the World (1946) Music in My Heart (1947) Small Wonder (1948) Inside U.S.A. (1948) Alive and Kicking (1950) Wish You Were Here (1952) Sandhog (1954) Shangri-La (1956) Oklahoma! (1956) (European tour with Shirley Jones) The Beggar's Opera (1957) (with Shirley Jones) Wish You Were Here (musical) (1959) (with Shirley Jones) She Loves Me (1963) Winner - 1964 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical Fade Out - Fade In (1964) It's a Bird...It's a Plane...It's Superman (1966) Wait Until Dark (1967) (with Shirley Jones) Maggie Flynn (1968)(Broadway with Shirley Jones) The Mundy Scheme (1969) The Marriage Band (1972) (with Shirley Jones) Sondheim: A Musical Tribute (1973) Murder Among Friends (1975) Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..

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