Shaun Cassidy says it was “terribly hard” watching his half-brother David Cassidy struggle with alcoholism.
“I’ve seen it in every family,” the performer turned writer, 63, told Page Six in a recent interview.
“It’s so painful and nobody really has the right rulebook on how to manage it.”
The “I Think I Love You” singer died in 2017 at the age of 67 from liver and kidney failure after battling sobriety for many years. He was the only son of Broadway star Jack Cassidy and wife Evelyn Ward. Jack, meanwhile, went on to marry “Oklahoma” star Shirley Jones, and together they had three sons: Shaun, Patrick, and Ryan.
Shaun also sagely noted that his elder brother had a different upbringing than he did.
“He had a very different experience with our father than I did,” he added. “He had a different mother; he had a different experience career-wise.”
“I loved and adored him and he was as funny a guy as you’ll ever meet,” Shaun continued. “We did a Broadway show called ‘Blood Brothers’ together for a year and it was great working with him and very cathartic because we both felt connected to our dad.”
The “Hardy Boys Mysteries” star has returned to the stage and is currently touring with the show “The Magic of a Midnight Sky” — and yes, he does sing “Da Doo Ron Ron.”
“It’s a music and storytelling show,” he explained. “I would say it’s a love story, it’s a survival story and it’s a story of reinvention. It’s funny, personal, sad, hopeful and, I believe, universal because my dirty little secret is the show is not just my story but everyone’s story.”
Shaun jokes that his career is nothing like a cautionary “Behind the Music” episode, with squandered finances and rehab. He was smart enough to realize that being a teen idol had a very limited shelf life and pivoted to become a successful writer and producer, working on shows like “American Gothic,” “Roar,” Cold Case,” and “Emerald City.” He’s currently the executive producer and writer for NBC’s medical drama “New Amsterdam.”
“I used [fame] as a launchpad,” he revealed. “I got through that, that was fun, kind of like winning the lottery, and then it became, what do I want to do with the rest of my life and how do I want to earn a living?”
“And I stayed home for most of the ’80s reading books and thinking about it and I sold my first script when I was 29 and that’s what I’ve been doing for 30 years, writing and producing television.”
The father of eight says that he was able to avoid the pitfalls of teen fame because of his family.
“By the time I became successful at 18, three other people in my family had already been wildly successful,” he detailed. “My father was a matinee idol on Broadway, my mother was an Academy Award winner at 24 and David was a very big pop star. I kind of witnessed all of this, so by the time it happened to me, no part of my identity was invested in it lasting or ever being successful.”
Shaun, who plays Sony Hall on Dec. 19, noted that the last time he played New York City was at Madison Square Garden and is eager to reconnect with fans.
“I wanted to check in with the audience and see how everybody is doing 40 years later,” he said happily.