After international fame at age 21, The Partridge Family star David Cassidy, now 59, is ready to be discovered by a new generation, thanks to a new ABC Family series called Ruby & The Rockits — a show that marks David’s first regular TV series since the 1979 cop drama Man Undercover. And not unlike The Partridge Family (which co-starred his real-life stepmother Shirley Jones), Ruby has become a Cassidy-clan family affair. “This is a dream come true for me,” David tells In Touch. “I couldn’t have moved back to LA if it wasn’t for this project. My brother Patrick co-stars; brother Shaun is the head writer/producer; and younger brother Ryan is the set decorator. It’s the first time we have all ever worked together, and it’s fantastic.”
And when you consider stepmom Shirley (and real-life mom to the rest of the Cassidy clan) is a regular audience member at the show’s live tapings, it really is a family get-together every week.
To read more about David’s new family project, click here.
Thirty-five years ago, there wasn’t a teenager in America who didn’t know the name David Cassidy. With a starring role as Keith on The Partridge Family, David fast became the biggest teen idol of his time. His shaggy hair and boyish good looks covered magazines, games and lunch boxes, and hit songs like “I Think I Love You” and “Cherish” dominated the charts.
But in the late 1970s, disillusioned with fame and touring, David walked away. He moved to England, raised racehorses throughout the ’80s, and despite a minor career resurgence in the early ’90s with the song, “Lying to Myself,” chose to lay low. Eventually he married, raised a family and went onto garner respect onstage with shows like EFX in Las Vegas, where he’s lived for the last six years. But now David is back in Hollywood and he couldn’t be happier with his new ABC Family channel series Ruby & The Rockits, which centers around brothers David and Patrick, whose ’80s Hall & Oates-style band The Rockits were a huge hit. Now a married family man, Patrick is content to leave the spotlight to his brother, but David’s dream of reigniting his career with a brotherly reunion is rocked with the appearance of Ruby (Spy Kids star Alexa Vega), his 15-year-old daughter from a one-night stand.
“I gave Shaun the germ of the idea,” says David. “A half-hour for adults and kids — not a ‘Disney’ show. We push the envelope and for me, it’s the best thing I have done on television. It’s the most fun I have had.”
Following a long struggle to come to terms with his teen idol status (as detailed in his 1994 autobiography C’mon, Get Happy: Fear and Loathing on the Partridge Family Bus), today’s David Cassidy embraces his legacy and admits to actually enjoying delving back into his ’80s fashion archives for some parody YouTube videos for the show.
“We get to create them,” he laughs. “And sadly I am using my own ’80s outfits from when I played a tour in England in 1984-85. With the big shoulders and whacked-out big hair. I have done a lot of comedy and never laughed at myself before as an actor — never laughed at me — but this character is so funny.”
Unlike the Partridge Family, who lip-synched all of their songs, Ruby will feature live performances by Alexa Vega and soon-to-be-teen-heartthrob co-star Austin Butler. “There is a new song every episode from the Rockits and Ruby and we do everything live,” Alexa tells In Touch. She also admits that she wasn’t overly familiar with the enormity of her TV dad’s level of fame.
“I had heard a lot about Mr. David and Shaun from my mother,” laughs Alexa. “She loved them growing up, so I think more than anyone, my mom and grandma were totally excited. My grandma was like, ‘I think I need to hang out on set with you a lot more!’ But I got them autographs when we did the pilot.”
Ruby & The Rockits premieres July 21 on ABC Family.