Vietnam Veteran ball cap firmly planted on his 78-year-old head, James Dukes thanked the teens who carried his frozen turkey, fresh vegetables, juice, milk and pie to his car which was parked among dozens more outside the Mandarin Food Bank this week.
A lifelong Mandarin resident, he remembers when the Boy Scout troop he led gathered food for the food bank now in its 27th year. With his veteran benefits curtailed a few years ago, he, his wife and son sought help this year at its annual Thanksgiving food basket giveaway for the Jacksonville community.
Without it, today’s Thanksgiving table would be bare.
“I would have probably been eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches,” Dukes said at Monday’s distribution. “… I never thought that one day I am going to be in the same situation. But you never know what the Lord is going do and how things turn you around.”
Nearby, another Thanksgiving food basket was loaded into C.J. Gonzalez’ car as about 70 others in need lined up awaiting their holiday donation. Recovering from surgery, Gonzalez and her three children just moved to Mandarin from Miami, and the food she got will be their holiday.
“They wouldn’t have a Thanksgiving,” Gonzalez said. “ … I just had surgery and they were able to carry my food out here.”
Since its founding in 1990, the Mandarin Food Bank, 11730 Old St. Augustine Road, has helped needy families with financial aid, donations of food and clothing and guidance to find housing or jobs.
Part of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church across the busy road, it also hosts these annual Thanksgiving and Christmas food drives. Donations from parishioners, area schools and local Rotary, Knights of Columbus and Shriner’s clubs fill the larder, as do large turkey donations from families.
Almost 160 volunteers help the food bank monthly, packing and sorting food, toys and clothing, helping about 100 families a week during Monday, Wednesday and Friday office hours. Come Thanksgiving, volunteers swell as students from Mandarin High School, St. Joseph’s School and the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School help carry the Thanksgiving food baskets to each client’s car.
One of those was Mary Smith, working at the food bank for 25 years and happy to see familiar clients when she hands them the first box of holiday food.
“The biggest blessing is to be here and share, to give back, just to help somebody out so they feel better,” Smith said.
The need has risen over the years with Thanksgiving food baskets going from 366 families in 2009 to 400 in 2010, up to 500 in 2012, 510 in 2015 and about 550 last year.
“Some people just found out about us, people who lost their jobs or just having hard times making ends meet,” co-director Mary Kaminski said. “We have a lot of immigrants. … A lot are working poor, or they just became unemployed or widowed.”
Food bank volunteers made up 530 food baskets in advance of Monday’s expected need, each containing a frozen turkey, stuffing, canned goods, juices, milk and desserts. But when Monday’s giveaway closed at noon, only 315 families picked up boxes, adding to the 80 who received advance donations last week.
“To us that’s a good sign,” co-director Bonnie McNulty said. “Hopefully, the people who have been coming to us on a temporary basis are finding work and don’t need it. And people who have been coming on a more permanent basis year after year are finding ways to improve their lives too. … That’s what we want.”
The food bank helps only registered clients who use its services already, and more picked up baskets Tuesday and Wednesday, Kaminski said.
One who came Monday was Lawrence Allen, who is disabled.
“I probably would have survived, but anytime someone gives you help, it’s good,” he said. “I think this is wonderful.”
The Mandarin Food Bank has a pre-Christmas food giveaway starting at 9 a.m. Dec. 20 with about 400 food baskets available to clients. The food bank’s office hours are 9 to 11:30 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. For information call at (904) 292-1675, or go to mandarinfoodbank.org.
Dan Scanlan: (904) 359-4549
Michigan gymnastics doctor pleads guilty to sex charges - Wednesday, Novem
LANSING, Mich. — A sports doctor accused of molesting girls while working for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University pleaded guilty Wednesday to multiple charges of sexual assault and will face at least 25 years in prison.
Dr. Larry Nassar, 54, was charged with molesting seven girls, mostly under the guise of treatment at his Lansing-area home and a campus clinic. All but one of his accusers was a gymnast. He faces similar charges in a neighboring county and lawsuits filed by more than 125 women and girls.
Olympic gymnasts Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Gabby Douglas are among the women who have publicly said they were among Nassar’s victims.
Some of his accusers attended the hearing Wednesday in a packed Ingham County courtroom.
The plea deal in Ingham County calls for a minimum prison sentence of 25 years, but a judge could set the minimum sentence as high as 40 years. In Michigan, inmates are eligible for parole after serving a minimum sentence.
The girls have testified that Nassar molested them with his hands, sometimes when a parent was present in the room, while they sought help for gymnastics injuries.
“He convinced these girls that this was some type of legitimate treatment,” Assistant Attorney General Angela Poviliatis told a judge last summer. “Why would they question him? Why would they question this gymnastics god?”
Separately, Nassar is charged with similar crimes in Eaton County, the location of an elite gymnastics club. He also is awaiting sentencing in federal court on child pornography charges.
The Michigan criminal cases against Nassar followed reports last year in the Indianapolis Star about how USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians, mishandled complaints about sexual misconduct involving the doctor and coaches. Women and girls said the stories inspired them to step forward with detailed allegations of abuse, sometimes when their parents were in the exam room at Michigan State.
Nassau County deputy honored with memorial near the site of his 2016 death - Wednesday, Novem
A memorial to the Nassau County deputy who died one year ago while pursuing an illegal immigrant across Florida 200 was dedicated Wednesday at the spot where the foot chase began.
Eric James Oliver’s image and badge number grace the monument unveiled at the Gate convenience store at 463779 Florida 200 in Yulee on the anniversary of his death.
Law enforcement and fire/rescue officers from several agencies joined family members, community leaders and residents at the dedication ceremony honoring the fallen deputy.
“Deputy Oliver died doing what he loved to do serving and protecting our community,” Sheriff Bill Leeper said. “He will never be forgotten by our agency, by those who worked with him, by his family, by his friends, and now all those who pass this way will remember him as well.”
Oliver and other deputies were assisting immigration agents questioning men in a pickup truck at the gas station just west of Chester Road when one ran across Florida 200, the Sheriff’s Office said. Oliver and another deputy ran after him. Oliver was hit by a motorist and killed. Francisco Obbidio Portillo-Fuentes was arrested, then sentenced to two years in prison before he is sent back to El Salvador, immigration officials said.
Oliver’s name also was added to the Sheriff’s Office’s fallen officers memorial this year, and a segment of road connecting Florida 200 to Courtney Isles Way in Yulee was renamed Eric Oliver Way in his honor a few months ago. Gate Petroleum allowed the monument to be placed on its property.
Dan Scanlan: (904) 359-4549
Poll: 1 in 3 Americans dreads political talk at Thanksgiving - Wednesday, Novem
WASHINGTON — Bring on the turkey — but maybe hold the politics.
Thanksgiving is Glenn Rogers’ favorite holiday, when people gather around the table and talk about things to celebrate from the past year. But Donald Trump’s presidency isn’t something everyone in the Rogers family is toasting.
“For the most part, we get to the point where we know that we’re not going to agree with each other and it gets dropped,” says the 67-year-old manufacturing consultant, who says he voted less for Trump than against Democrat Hillary Clinton.
With a cascade of sexual misconduct scandals now echoing similar allegations against Trump during the campaign, tempers on the subject of Trump may not have cooled, says Rogers. “When you start talking about it now, there’s still some, I think, real animosity when you start talking about character.”
Rogers is among more than a third of Americans who say they dread the prospect of politics coming up over Thanksgiving, compared with just 2 in 10 who say they’re eager to talk politics, according to a new poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Four in 10 don’t feel strongly either way.
Democrats are slightly more likely than Republicans to say they’re uneasy about political discussions at the table, 39 percent to 33 percent. And women are more likely than men to say they dread the thought of talking politics, 41 percent to 31 percent.
Those who do think there’s at least some possibility of politics coming up are somewhat more likely to feel optimistic about it than Americans as a whole. Among this group, 30 percent say they’d be eager to talk politics and 34 percent would dread it.
The debate over whether to talk politics at Thanksgiving — or not — is about as American as the traditional feast itself. By Christmas 2016, 39 percent of U.S. adults said their families avoided conversations about politics, according to the Pew Research Center.
But Americans are still trying to figure out how to talk about the subject in the age of Trump, and amid the sexual misconduct allegations that have ignited a new debate over standards for conduct between men and women. The conversation, some analysts and respondents say, touches on identity among people who group themselves by other factors, such as family, friendship or geography.
Ten months into Trump’s difficult presidency, he remains a historically unpopular president and a deeply polarizing force in the United States. His drives to crack down on immigration in the name of national security and the economy cut right to the question of who is an American. And his defense on Tuesday of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore, the former Alabama judge accused by six women of pursuing romantic relationships with them when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s, comes amid a wider deluge of sexual misconduct scandals. Those engulfed include an array of politicians and policymakers — past, present, aspiring and presidential — of all partisan stripes.
For any mention of Moore, who denies the accusations against him, there’s Democratic Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota, who has apologized or said he feels bad about the allegations against him. For every mention of the “Access Hollywood” tape in which Trump could be heard bragging about touching women without their consent, there are allegations that Democratic President Bill Clinton assaulted women. Both men deny the accusations.
Trump won the 2016 election, even though more than a dozen women accused him of sexual misconduct, and roughly half of all voters said they were bothered by his treatment of women, according to exit polls. Trump called the allegations false and said he would sue the women, but that hasn’t happened.
Then there’s the broader national conversation about what to do with the art, public policy work and legacies of public figures accused of sexual harassment or assault.
In the past, the Emily Post Institute Inc. received Thanksgiving etiquette questions that were typically about how to handle difficult relatives, says author Daniel Post Senning.
“Now, I am hearing questions like, ‘I don’t want to go,’ or ‘I can’t imagine sitting at a table with someone who has this perspective and staying through the meal,’” he says. “My impression is that it’s still out there. … The shock of that election is a little further in the rearview mirror, but I think people still have strong feelings about it.”
Fort Worth, Texas, resident Greg McCulley saw that firsthand last year. He recalls that of a dozen adults gathered around the Thanksgiving table, all but one was celebrating Trump’s election. That was his sister-in-law, who fumed about Trump and the “Access Hollywood” tape. Tension seethed.
“It was like, you say Donald Trump was bad, then someone says Bill Clinton was bad, so that extended to Hillary Clinton,” says McCulley, 43, an Air Force retiree who voted for Trump but doesn’t dispute that Trump’s recorded remarks were troubling. He does expect politics to come up this year, probably about sexual assault.
“The conservatives have more of a bigger bone. They’ll say look at Al Franken,” says McCully, who nonetheless looks forward to the conversation. “But it may be that my sister-in-law keeps her mouth zipped and says, ‘I don’t want to wade into those waters again like last year.’”
The AP-NORC poll of 1,070 adults was conducted Nov. 15-19 using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.
Respondents were first selected randomly using address-based sampling methods and later interviewed online or by phone.
Waycross man who died in Monday crash was hit from behind, report says - Wednesday, Novem
A Georgia State Patrol investigative team is assigned to a Monday collision that took the life of a Waycross man.
Danny McCook, 59, of Waycross, was driving a Toyota Tacoma pickup truck east on U.S. 82 about a mile from Waycross when it was hit from behind by a 2015 Nissan Versa, a Georgia State Patrol trooper said in a crash report.
The Tacoma spun off the shoulder, left the road, overturned several times and hit a metal building, the report says.
McCook, who was wearing a safety belt, was dead at the scene, and the driver of the Nissan, Lakeya Scott, 28, was taken to Memorial Satilla Health’s hospital in Waycross for treatment of unspecified injuries, the report says. Scott, who is also from Waycross, was not wearing a safety belt, the report says.
A Georgia State Patrol Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team is investigating the crash.
Terry Dickson: (912) 264-0405
Police: Florida man crashes car to highlight dangerous intersection - Wednesday, Novem
CLERMONT, Fla. — Authorities say a man angered over people driving dangerously through a busy intersection appeared to intentionally cause a crash there to highlight the problem.
The Daily Commercial reports 61-year-old Bruce John Homer told Lake County Sheriff’s Office deputies who responded to the Sunday afternoon accident that he was frustrated law enforcement wouldn’t crack down on people running through a stop sign at the intersection.
The driver of the SUV that was hit says Homer pulled out in front of him as he was going through the intersection. The driver says Homer approached him after the crash, telling him he’d run the stop sign and law enforcement “won’t do anything until someone dies.”
Homer is charged with aggravated battery and reckless driving. It’s unclear if he has a lawyer.
Cold War drama caught on video as North Korean soldier escapes - Wednesday, Novem
SEOUL, South Korea — It’s 3:11 p.m. on a cold, gray day on the North Korean side of the most heavily armed border in the world, and a lone soldier is racing toward freedom.
His dark olive-green jeep speeds down a straight, tree-lined road, past drab, barren fields and, headlights shining, across the replacement for the Bridge of No Return, which was used for prisoner exchanges during the Korean War. The shock of soldiers watching the jeep rush by is palpable from the video released Wednesday, and no wonder: They’re beginning to realize that one of their comrades is defecting to the South.
They sprint after him.
The jeep slows and turns at a monument to North Korean founder Kim Il Sung, the staging point for North Korean tours of the area.
The border is near, South Korea just beyond it.
Four North Korean soldiers, weapons in their hands, race by the blue huts that straddle the line and are familiar to anyone who has toured the only spot on the border where North and South Korean soldiers face off within spitting distance of each other. There are no tourists this day.
Right at the line that divides North from South, the defector crashes the jeep into a ditch. Seconds pass as he tries in vain to gun the vehicle out of the gully before leaping out and sprinting into the South. He kicks up leaves, ducking below a tree branch just as the North Korean soldiers skid into view.
Muzzles flash. The North Korean soldiers, one of whom drops flat into the leaves, fire at the defector at close range with handguns and AK-47 assault rifles — about 40 rounds, the South says.
Suddenly, two of the North Koreans run away while the soldier in the leaves jumps up and dashes across the dividing line into South Korean territory before stopping, turning on his heels and sprinting back to the northern side after his comrades. The defector falls stretched out and unmoving in a pile of leaves against a small wall on the South Korean side.
The entire sequence, from the first appearance of the jeep to the soldier’s frenzied crossing, lasts four minutes.
It unfolded Nov. 13 in the Joint Security Area, which is overseen by both the American-led U.N. Command and North Korea and lies inside the 4-kilometer (2 1/2-mile) -wide Demilitarized Zone that has been the de facto border between the Koreas since the war.
Forty minutes later, the video has switched to infrared to show the heat signatures of two South Korean soldiers as they crawl on their hands and knees, using a wall as cover, toward the prone defector. They grab hold of the defector and drag him to safety. Not far away, heavily armed North Korean troops begin to gather near the Kim Il Sung monument.
For the moment, the border is quiet again.
Surprisingly, North and South Korean soldiers didn’t exchange fire during the shooting, the first in the area in more than three decades. The bullets went in only one direction.
The defection, subsequent surgeries and slow recovery of the soldier have riveted South Korea. But his escape is a huge embarrassment for the North, which claims all defections are the result of rival Seoul kidnapping or enticing North Koreans. Pyongyang has said nothing about the defection so far.
North Korea’s actions during the defector’s escape at the Panmunjom border village violated the armistice agreement ending the Korean War because North Korean soldiers fired across and physically crossed the border in pursuit of the soldier, U.S. Col. Chad Carroll, a spokesman for the U.N. command, told reporters in a live TV briefing Wednesday. A U.N. Command statement said a meeting had been requested with the North’s military to discuss the violations.
After undergoing two surgeries last week to repair internal organ damage and other injuries, the soldier has regained consciousness and is no longer relying on a breathing machine. His doctor said Wednesday he is enjoying watching American movies and shows such as “Transformers,” ”CSI,” and “Bruce Almighty,” and listening to South Korean pop songs such as “Gee” by popular female band “Girls’ Generation.”
“His condition has become much better since yesterday. We’ve turned on the TV for him since yesterday,” doctor Lee Cook-jong told reporters.
“He said it was so painful when he was shot by bullets but that he doesn’t feel pain now,” he said.
Doctors plan to keep him at an intensive care unit for at least several more days to guard against possible infection, hospital official Shin Mi-jeong said.
While treating the wounds, surgeons earlier removed dozens of parasites from the soldier’s ruptured small intestine, including presumed roundworms that were as long as 27 centimeters (10.6 inches), which may reflect poor nutrition and health in North Korea’s military. The soldier is 1.7 meters (5 feet, 7 inches) tall but weighs just 60 kilograms (132 pounds).
About 30,000 North Koreans have fled to South Korea, mostly across the porous border with China, since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. Now add one more to that tally — a man in uniform, fleeing gunfire toward a new life one overcast afternoon across the world’s most uneasy border.
Trump labels father of UCLA player an ‘ungrateful fool’ - Wednesday, Novem
PALM BEACH, Fla. — President Donald Trump continued to taunt the father of a UCLA basketball player detained for shoplifting in China Wednesday, calling him an “ungrateful fool.”
In a series of tweets fired off before dawn on the first day of his Thanksgiving vacation, the president complained yet again that LaVar Ball, father of LiAngelo Hall, hasn’t given him credit for the release of his son and two other UCLA basketball players from detention in China.
Tweeting from his Florida vacation home Wednesday morning, Trump said: “It wasn’t the White House, it wasn’t the State Department, it wasn’t father LaVar’s so-called people on the ground in China that got his son out of a long term prison sentence - IT WAS ME.”
“Too bad! LaVar is just a poor man’s version of Don King, but without the hair,” he said.
Trump also warned that Ball “could have spent the next 5 to 10 years during Thanksgiving with your son in China, but no NBA contract to support you” had it not been for his intervention.
“But remember LaVar, shoplifting is NOT a little thing. It’s a really big deal, especially in China,” he wrote.
LiAngelo Ball and two UCLA teammates were released after a brief detention in China while Trump was visiting the country. Trump has taken credit for the release, saying that he discussed the situation with Chinese President Xi Jinping during their talks.
Trump had previously said he should have left all three players in jail.
LaVar Ball has repeatedly minimized Trump’s involvement in winning the players’ release, telling CNN earlier this week: “If I feel nobody did anything, I don’t have to go around saying thank you to everybody.”
Trump is also speaking out against the idea of keeping NFL players in the locker room during the playing of the national anthem as a response to players who refuse to stand during the Star-Spangled Banner to protest racial inequality and police brutality.
“That’s almost as bad as kneeling! When will the highly paid Commissioner finally get tough and smart?” Trump wrote. “This issue is killing your league!”
U.S. Navy plane with 11 aboard crashes into Pacific; 8 rescued - Wednesday, Novem
TOKYO — Eight people were rescued and three remained missing after a U.S. Navy plane crashed into the western Pacific Ocean on Wednesday, the Navy said.
The C-2 “Greyhound” transport aircraft came down about 500 nautical miles (925 kilometers) southeast of Okinawa as it was bringing passengers and cargo from Japan to the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier, the Navy said in a statement.
The Reagan was operating in the Philippine Sea during a joint exercise with Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force when the twin-propeller plane crashed at 2:45 p.m. Japan time. The cause of the crash was not immediately clear and the incident will be investigated, the Navy said.
Eight people were rescued about 40 minutes later. They were taken to the Reagan for medical evaluation and are in good condition, the Navy said.
U.S. and Japanese naval ships and aircraft are searching for the missing. Japan’s Defense Ministry said the crash site is about 150 kilometers (90 miles) northwest of Okinotorishima, a Japanese atoll.
The names of the crew and passengers are being withheld pending notification of next of kin.
In Washington, the White House said President Donald Trump had been briefed on the crash.
Trump said in a tweet: “We are monitoring the situation. Prayers for all involved.”
The Nov. 16-26 joint exercise in waters off Okinawa has been described by the Navy as the “premier training event” between the U.S. and Japanese navies, designed to increase defensive readiness and interoperability in air and sea operations.
The Navy’s Japan-based 7th Fleet has had two fatal accidents in Asian waters this year, leaving 17 sailors dead and prompting the removal of eight top Navy officers from their posts, including the 7th Fleet commander.
The USS John S. McCain and an oil tanker collided near Singapore in August, leaving 10 U.S. sailors dead. Seven sailors died in June when the USS Fitzgerald and a container ship collided off Japan.
The Navy has concluded that the collisions were avoidable and resulted from widespread failures by the crews and commanders, who didn’t quickly recognize and respond to unfolding emergencies. A Navy report recommended numerous changes to address the problems, ranging from improved training to increasing sleep and stress management for sailors.
Teen idol David Cassidy, ‘Partridge Family’ star, dies at 67 - Tuesday, Novembe
NEW YORK — David Cassidy, the teen and pre-teen idol who starred in the 1970s sitcom “The Partridge Family” and sold millions of records as the musical group’s lead singer, died at age 67.
Cassidy, who announced earlier this year that he had been diagnosed with dementia, died surrounded by his family, a family statement released by publicist JoAnn Geffen said Tuesday. No further details were immediately available, but Geffen said on Saturday that Cassidy was in a Fort Lauderdale, Florida, hospital suffering from organ failure.
“David died surrounded by those he loved, with joy in his heart and free from the pain that had gripped him for so long,” the statement said. “Thank you for the abundance and support you have shown him these many years.”
“The Partridge Family” aired from 1970-74 and was a fictional variation of the ’60s performers the Cowsills, intended at first as a vehicle for Shirley Jones, the Oscar-winning actress and Cassidy’s stepmother. Jones played Shirley Partridge, a widow with five children with whom she forms a popular act that travels on a psychedelic bus. The cast also featured Cassidy as eldest son and family heartthrob Keith Partridge; Susan Dey, later of “L.A. Law” fame, as sibling Laurie Partridge and Danny Bonaduce as sibling Danny Partridge.
It was an era for singing families — the Osmonds, the Jacksons. “The Partridge Family” never cracked the top 10 in TV ratings, but the recordings under their name, mostly featuring Cassidy, Jones and session players, produced real-life musical hits and made Cassidy a real-life musical superstar. The Partridges’ best known song, “I Think I Love You,” spent three weeks on top of the Billboard chart at a time when other hit singles included James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain” and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles’ “The Tears of a Clown.” The group also reached the top 10 with “I’ll Meet You Halfway” and “Doesn’t Somebody Want to be Wanted” and Cassidy had a solo hit with “Cherish.”
“In two years, David Cassidy has swept hurricane-like into the pre-pubescent lives of millions of American girls,” Rolling Stone magazine noted in 1972. “Leaving: six and a half million long-playing albums and singles; 44 television programs; David Cassidy lunch boxes; David Cassidy bubble gum; David Cassidy coloring books and David Cassidy pens; not to mention several millions of teen magazines, wall stickers, love beads, posters and photo albums.”
Cassidy’s appeal faded after the show went off the air, although he continued to tour, record and act over the next 40 years, his albums including “Romance” and the awkwardly titled “Didn’t You Used To Be?” He had a hit with “I Write the Songs” before Barry Manilow’s chart-topping version and success overseas with “The Last Kiss,” featuring backing vocals from Cassidy admirer George Michael. He made occasional stage and television appearances, including an Emmy-nominated performance on “Police Story.”
Meanwhile, “The Partridge Family” remained popular in re-runs and Cassidy, who kept his dark bangs and boyish appearance well into middle age, frequently turned up for reunions and spoke often about his early success.
“So many people come up to me and talk to me about the impact it (the show) had,” he told Arsenio Hall in 1990.
Fans shared memories of Cassidy online after his death Tuesday evening, with some sharing photos, others sharing remembrances of him being their first crush and video clips of his songs.
Bonaduce tweeted early Wednesday that he had “loved and admired David Cassidy for 48 out of my 58 years.” He added Cassidy was as kind to him as any real brother could have been, and said they had been through a lot, with Cassidy always there for him. He closed, “This loss is huge. RIP my dear friend.”
Even while “The Partridge Family” was still in primetime, Cassidy worried that he was mistaken for the wholesome character he played. He posed naked for Rolling Stone in 1972, when he confided that he had dropped acid as a teenager and smoked pot in front of the magazine’s reporter as he watched an episode of “The Partridge Family” and mocked his own acting. Cassidy maintained an exhausting schedule during the show’s run, filming during the week and performing live shows over the weekend, but had plenty of time to indulge himself. In the memoir “Could It Be Forever,” he wrote of his prolific sex life and of rejecting Dey’s advances because she lacked the “slutty aspect of a female that I always found so attractive.”
Cassidy would endure personal and financial troubles. He was married and divorced three times, battled alcoholism, was arrested for drunk driving and in 2015 filed for bankruptcy. Cassidy had two children, musician Beau Cassidy and actress Katie Cassidy, with whom he acknowledged having a distant relationship.
“I wasn’t her father. I was her biological father but I didn’t raise her,” he told People magazine in 2017. “She has a completely different life.”
Cassidy himself was estranged from his father. Born in New York City in 1950, he was the son of actors Jack Cassidy and Evelyn Ward and half brother of entertainer Shaun Cassidy. David Cassidy’s parents split up when he was 5 and he would long express regret about Jack Cassidy, who soon married Shirley Jones, being mostly absent from his life. David Cassidy stayed with his mother and by the early 1960s had moved to Los Angeles.
Kicked out of high school for truancy, David Cassidy dreamed of becoming an actor and had made appearances on “Bonanza,” ”Ironside” and other programs before producers at ABC television asked him to audition for “The Partridge Family,” unaware that he could sing and intending at first to have him mime songs to someone else’s voice. Cassidy, who only learned during tryouts that Jones would play his mother, worried that Keith Partridge would be a “real comedown” from his previous roles.
“I mean, how much could an actor do with a line like, ‘Hi, Mom, I’m home from school,’ or ‘Please pass the milk?’” he wrote in his memoir. “I didn’t see how it could do much for me. After all, I wasn’t the star of it. Shirley had top billing; I was just one of the kids.”