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David Cassidy played the clean-cut Keith Partridge in The Partridge Family. However, his personal life differed from this image and his real-life parents “didn’t know what to do” with him. Let’s take a look at what Cassidy meant by this admission.

David Cassidy of The Partridge Family near a painting
David Cassidy | Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

David Cassidy and “living on the edge”

In his memoir, C’mon, Get Happy… Fear and Loathing on the Partridge Family Bus, Cassidy describes his “appetite for living on the edge.” For example, he would steal things. He describes stealing bikes on his way back from school to home. Cassidy would steal the bikes, fix them up a bit, use them for a while, and then he would return them. For him, “It was more like, if I saw a rule of any sort, I’d think, Let’s see, how can I break this? Or bend this? Being told not to do something was an enticement for me.”

At one point, Cassidy’s mother sent him to a psychologist because he was using drugs. He turned that situation into one of manipulation. He says, “I basically told the psychologist what I wanted to, so that my mother would wind up getting told I needed more love, trust, and understanding. It was completely manipulation on my part, not analysis.” He said he viewed his main problem as getting through the school year without having to do homework. “… how could I pull the wool over my parents’ eyes so I could continue having the lifestyle I wanted?”

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The lifestyle David Cassidy lived during his youth

Cassidy reveals he was “really good at being a teenager.” Cassidy talks about staying out at night, lying to his parents, and “trying desperately to act older than I was.” However, his lifestyle came with consequences that he refers to as “Judgment Day,” the day when report cards were issued. For Cassidy, the reality of “Judgement Day” meant summer school which he had to attend between 10th and 11th grade, between 11th and 12th grade, and then after 12th grade.

Subsequently, he was tossed out of two high schools because he was not attending classes. He admits, “My parents didn’t know what to do with me.” As a result, Cassidy was sent to continuation school – “for incorrigibles who were too young to legally drop out of school.” He described continuation school as a place with lots of losers and those with emotional problems.

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David Cassidy finds a path

Cassidy did not want to stay at continuation school so he asked his parents to place him at the Rexford school – a school where “they let you be who you are.” Cassidy’s parents agreed. At Rexford, students could grow their hair, and express their individuality. Small classes seemed to help Cassidy keep his promise to his parents to “work hard.” In addition, he enjoyed his drama classes.

For Cassidy, Rexford may have been the right choice. According to IMDb, Cassidy and his co-stars were nominated for the TV Land Awards for Favorite Singing Siblings Nomination for The Partridge Family in 2006. While Cassidy endured some hardships, he also won acclaim for his role on The Partridge Family.