‘The Partridge Family’: Danny Bonaduce Was ‘Too Out of Hand’ So the Cast Hatched a Plot to Pay Him Back
Former child star Danny Bonaduce has been frank about the highs and lows in his career and personal life, at times detailing his backstage antics on The Partridge Family.
Fans have undoubtedly already heard about how he lost his virginity to one of David Cassidy’s groupies or his smoking habit as a kid. Bonaduce had close relationships with his co-stars which included Cassidy, Shirley Jones, Dave Madden, and Susan Dey, but he sometimes tried their patience.
In one instance, they gave Bonaduce some tough love in a way he never saw coming.
Danny Bonaduce was rambunctious on ‘The Partridge Family’
Danny Bonaduce’s character on The Partridge Family wasn’t too far off from his real personality. On set, he was a sharp kid who liked to make wisecracks, and Shirley Jones (who played Shirley Partridge) called him talented “with perfect comedic timing.”
David Cassidy was close with Bonaduce. He once wrote in his memoir, C’mon, Get Happy . . .: Fear and Loathing on the Partridge Family Bus, that Danny came from a broken home and had issues socializing.
“I saw him acting out his need for love,” Cassidy recalled. He said Bonaduce was “a pretty wild kid” whose father “used to beat the sh*t out of” him. But he looked up to Cassidy.
Jones also touched on Bonaduce’s behavior in her book, Shirley Jones: A Memoir, and stated she used to bring him to her house to hang out with her kids and get away from his usual home environment. On set though, she said he’d do kid things like throw food, but they loved him.
‘The Partridge Family’ family set Bonaduce straight
Most of Bonaduce’s castmates knew his home life wasn’t the best, and they worried and cared for him. However, they took exception to some of his actions.
“Once, when he was getting too big for his boots, we all ganged up on him and convinced Susan to pour a pitcher of milk over his head, just to put him in his place,” Jones wrote. “That incident found its way into a subsequent episode of The Partridge Family, in which we did exactly the same to David for the identical reason,” she added.
Cassidy also shared the tale in his book and noted Bonaduce was getting “too snotty and out of hand.” The off-script milk moment wasn’t caught on camera, but Bonaduce once talked about it in an interview with the C’mon, Get Happy blog.
He said, “I think I was screwing up my lines a lot and being an a*s. The fact of the matter is that I was an extraordinarily ill-mannered young man and she just got tired of it.”
Bonaduce remained close with some cast members
Though Dey moved on with her life after The Partridge Family was canceled, other castmates kept in touch. Cassidy was particularly fond of Bonaduce. After Cassidy’s death, Bonaduce received a call from Shaun Cassidy telling him his former co-star always thought of him as their other brother.
“David wanted nothing but the best for me,” Bonaduce told King 5 TV station. “I made things difficult for him to be kind to me,” he said. He added that as adults, the actor stayed on top of him about his troublemaker behavior and offered him a job. He’s been working steadily ever since.