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A teen hearthtrob's final words: 'So much wasted time'

In this week's Everything King, Wendy recounts her encounter with teen heartthrob David Cassidy
David Cassidy
David Cassidy. Source: Facebook

David Cassidy died last week and with him, a million dreams of teenage girls in the 70s.

As you likely have figured out from past blogs, I was and am a huge Elvis fan but that doesn't mean I didn't also appreciate the looks and talents of other teen idols.

There have been a lot of celebrity losses this year as every year.

Some of them hit harder than others.

This is one of those for me and I'm guessing for a lot of us who grew up with the Partridge Family every Friday night from 1970-1973. It was must-see TV.

David Cassidy: from the perfect smile to that great shag hair style to the mod (that's what we called them) clothes to that velvet voice.

This past weekend, I took a road trip and pulled out my Partridge Family CDs and cranked up the tunes. Yes, I could remember every single lyric. I Think I Love you, I Woke up in Love this Morning, I’ll Meet You Halfway, and my personal favourite Cherish.

While some may have seen him as just another bubble gum pop star, I always thought his voice transcended the cheesy but sweet story lines of the sitcom.

I just thought it was rich and beautiful.

When he branched out into acting, in theatre, I thought he really had talent.

A friend of mine told me the other day that seeing David Cassidy in Blood Brothers in Toronto was the single most inspiring evening of live theatre she has seen to date. That is pretty high praise.

If you have the chance in life to meet a celebrity you have admired, you immediately become more interested in them as life goes on as if you have some closer connection.

In 2011, I got the chance to do a phone interview with David prior to one of his concerts at Orillia's Casino Rama. We were giving away tickets and actually taking a bus full of listeners (all ladies, as I recall) to see him.

So, the phone call was set up. He was to call in at a certain time. Just like so many date nights as a teenager, there I sat, literally by the phone waiting for a call that did not come.

As was unfortunately his reputation by then, he missed the appointment. He must have been read the riot act by his agent because the next day he called personally just to apologize and reschedule. I was impressed he did that himself.

The second, time the call came through as planned. I swear to you when I picked up the studio phone and the voice said, "Hi, this is David Cassidy"... my knees buckled.

I just remember we had him on the line for at least a half hour as he recounted so many great stories. He was a good sport and played along, seeming to enjoy just how much we enjoyed him.

We made plans to meet him in person the night of the show.

As fate would have it, there was a major snowstorm on the way and while our busload of fans made the show, we missed the meet and greet appointment and were devastated.

Not being one to give up, I called the promoter back the next day and pleaded our case.

We were invited to come to the next closest show (which must have been in nicer weather) in New York state.

My co-host and I at the time made the trip. As I recall, we took a bouquet of roses with us.

Literally, when he got to us in the line and we introduced ourselves – he flashed that beaming smile, opened his arms wide to us both and said, "Finally… we meet." We had a quick chat and took photos and walked out on air.

Of course, we all know now that playing Keith Partridge was not a joy for him at all. He was filming the show during the week and doing concert touring of his own music on the weekends. It was non-stop work and non-stop pressure. What we saw as a life of excitement and luxury seemed to be more like a monkey on his back. What a shame!

As age and alcoholism took its toll, I found it difficult to watch YouTube videos of forgotten lyrics or falls off the stage or awkward interviews where he seemed angry at the world.

When he appeared just this year on Dr. Phil and spoke about having dementia – I have to admit, part of me didn't know whether it was true or if it was an excuse for a possible return to drinking he found too hard to admit – he seemed tortured and it bothered me so much.

As the news broke that he was hospitalized and not doing well, I spent a lot of time thinking about that one brief meeting which had meant so much. I thought of the countless covers of Tiger Beat he graced, wondered just how many young girls had taped his posters on their bedroom walls and played the grooves out of those records.

He gave so many so much joy and I wish he had enjoyed a happier, less drama-filled life. Hopefully on some level, he knew he made a difference.

According to his daughter, his last words were, "So much wasted time.”

So, I will replay those songs, watch the reruns and remember that message.