After The Monkees went off the air in 1968, television viewers didn’t have to wait long for a new musical sensation to make its way across their screens.
In 1970, ABC debuted a new twist on blending pop music and sitcom antics when they introduced the world to the peppy, upbeat tunes of The Partridge Family. Starring as the matriarch, Shirley Jones had previously passed on another big maternal role: Carol Brady on The Brady Bunch.
Her background in Broadway and musical movies was definitely put to better use on this series. However, despite the theme song’s optimistic chorus instructing their fans to “C’mon, get happy,” she and the young actors each had their own secrets hiding behind the scenes.
Take a look below to see the shocking facts lurking behind the chipper fictional family, many of which are downright heartbreaking.
Did we miss something you know was hiding behind their cheery tunes and silly plot lines? Let us know in the comments and be sure to SHARE with your friends!
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1. Shirley And David Were Really Related
Though much about the family was fictional, including everyone’s vocals on the songs other than Shirley Jones and David Cassidy, the two musical actors also shared a relationship as stepmother and son.
2. Shirley's Success Ended Her Marriage
Unfortunately, after the series catapulted to success, Shirley’s marriage to Jack Cassidy (photographed here with their two sons Shaun and Patrick) came to an end when the character actor’s jealousy became too overwhelming.
David has also gone on record noting his father’s issues with anger and alcohol, taking his jealousy out on his teen-idol son as well.
3. Danny Bonaduce Had His Own Family Drama
The young actor was known for his troublesome antics on and off screen, but at home he was reportedly the victim of physical and emotional abuse from his father. At one point, things got so bad for him that his co-star Dave Madden (who played the band’s manager) took him into the shelter of his own home.
Bonaduce still admits that he owes a lot to the kindness he received from Madden.
4. Susan Dey Battled Body-Image Issues
After starting her career as a teen model, Susan Dey struggled to cope with the sudden rise to fame while filming the series and began drastically restricting her diet.
She would occasionally show up to set with orange fingertips from only consuming carrots. She plummeted to a terrifying 92 lbs. before young Bonaduce’s disgusted reaction to seeing her as little more than skin and bones in a bikini made her realize things had gone too far.
5. No One Noticed They Switched Out "Chris"
That, or it didn’t bother them to see the second-youngest Partridge sibling’s role recast after the first season, replacing brown-haired Jeremy Gelbwaks with the blonde Brian Forster for the remainder of the series. The network received no mail regarding the change.
According to the rest of the cast, Gelbwaks’ exit had to do with his personality clashing with pretty much everyone on set.
6. They Outsold The Beatles
When their biggest hit, “I Think I Love You,” was released on The Partridge Family Album in 1970, the quirky tune went straight to the number one spot on the Billboard charts and sold more copies than one of the final Beatles singles, “Let It Be.”
7. They Weren't Paid Properly
Despite becoming a major hit, selling out records, topping the charts, and seeing their faces on tons of merchandise over the years, their record company retained most of the profits.
At the peak of their fame, David Cassidy was headlining concerts but only receiving a $600-a-week paycheck from the studio. Luckily, he was later able to renegotiate that when his manager realized Cassidy was underage when he signed the contract.
8. David Rebelled With 'Rolling Stone'
Desperate to escape the cookie-cutter image of a squeaky clean teen pop idol — and to make a point to the studio heads still holding back the profits at the time — Cassidy shocked everyone by agreeing to appear seminude on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.
The accompanying interview also had the actor admitting to riding around the back of a car in New York City “stoned and drunk.”
9. David's Fame Led To Tragedy
While Cassidy performed a solo show at London’s White City Stadium in 1974 during a break from filming the series, a sudden stampede toward the stage caused 30 young attendees to be crushed against the gate. One of them, a 14-year-old named Bernadette Whelan, died from her cardiac injuries four days later.
Cassidy said the tragic event would haunt him for the rest of his life.
10. David And Susan Dated After Filming
Dey harbored a crush on Cassidy throughout the series’ run, but he never reciprocated the feelings until deciding to give it a shot once they’d wrapped the show in 1974.
It was a brief affair, though Dey felt Cassidy ultimately described it in far too much detail in his autobiography. The two are not on speaking terms today.
11. They Were Inspired By A Real Family
The Cowsills — a family band consisting of six brothers, a sister, and their mom — had a string of hits, including 1967’s “The Rain, the Park & Other Things,” and became the basis for the idea of a fictional version. Shirley Jones has referred to the group as “the real deal.”
Did we miss a behind-the-scenes fact you remember about the groovy family show? Let us know below and be sure to SHARE with your friends!