America loves a family that sings. This was never truer than during the ’70s, but one family, in particular, encapsulates the no-stress mood of the nation at that time: The Partridge Family. But while the family might’ve looked like a dream-come-true on screen, there was trouble brewing behind the scenes.
See, teen heartthrob David Cassidy was finding the real-life consequences of fame hard to deal with — and his troubles didn’t end with adulthood. His family life became so tumultuous that he made one last-minute change to his will that no one saw coming.
David Cassidy danced onto the scene in 1970 as a member of TV’s hit series The Partridge Family. Sensing that America was craving more singing siblings, ABC decided to develop a show focusing on a traveling family band. But they were blown away by the nation’s reaction.
The Partridge Family was a smashing success and went on to be nominated for numerous awards in its early seasons, including two Golden Globes and a Grammy. The cast even released nine successful albums during its four-year run.
In fact, the show became so successful that Hollywood icons were clambering to get involved. It quickly became known for its high-profile guest stars like Jodie Foster, Farah Fawcett, and Dick Clark. Even pre-Luke Skywalker Mark Hamill showed up!
To everyone watching at home, The Partridge Family felt like an escape. The carefree tunes painted a world that was more wholesome and less troubling than their own. But behind the scenes, things weren’t so rosy for the cast, especially David.
See, David quickly became a teen sensation. He’d routinely come home to find naked women waiting for him in his house, and his face was all over the lunchboxes and t-shirts of young girls everywhere. But fame wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.
Sony was raking in the cash with promotions for The Partridge Family, but David wasn’t seeing any of that. While millions were being made off his likeness, he was only getting a paltry $600 a week. Even his fan club was run by money-hungry executives.
But because of his contract, there was nothing David could do — until his manager realized something. David had been under 18 when he signed his contract, so Sony had to renegotiate it. But by then, David had already been cut out of most of his fortune.
Angry with the studio, David found other ways he could rebel. The Partridge Family portrayed him as a squeaky-clean teen, so he toyed around with ways to change his public persona — much to producer’s chagrin.
In 1972, David did an interview with Rolling Stone where he talked about things like sex and drugs — definitely not in line with the innocent character Sony wanted him to be. And David took it a step further by posing nude for the magazine cover. Uh oh!
But once The Partridge Family was over, and “Cassidymania” had subsided, David struggled to adjust to his new life. He eventually revealed he was an alcoholic and was later arrested multiple times for driving under the influence.
His personal life was becoming just as chaotic as well. Ten years after leaving The Partridge Family, David had already been married and divorced twice. He later married for a third and final time before getting divorced in 2016.
But in 2017, David revealed something that left his fans speechless; he was suffering from dementia. His mother had struggled with the same disease, but he had ignored the warning signs before then. “I was in denial,” said David, “but a part of me always knew this was coming.”
His struggles caused him to be estranged from much of his family during the last years of his life, but when he was hospitalized later that year, his whole family reunited to support him in his time of need.
David died of organ failure surrounded by friends and family who loved him. But he kept his spirit of chaos even in death. See, David’s will contained a surprise that no one expected…
As it turned out, David had left his entire estate to his son Beau and left nothing to his daughter Katie. In fact, the will went so far as to specify, “It is my specific intent not to provide any benefits hereunder to Katherine Evelyn Cassidy and/or any descendant of Katherine Evelyn Cassidy.”
Fans and family were also stunned to discover that David’s entire estate was only worth $150,000 by the time of his death. It seemed that his chaotic lifestyle had led him to squander the success he had found on The Partridge Family.
Because his relationship with Katie’s mother was so short-lived, David had never felt responsible for her while she was growing up. He recognized the errors of his ways later in life and the two reconciled, so the will came as a shock to many family members.
See, David had written the will back in 2004 when the two were still estranged and never updated it, so it’s unclear if had still been his intention thirteen years later to keep her out of it.
But Katie didn’t have hard feelings and cherished the time she spent with David. “My father’s last words were, ‘So much wasted time,'” she said. “This will be a daily reminder for me to share my gratitude with those I love to never waste another minute.”
Reconciling with his daughter reminded David that family is what’s really important in life. “I love that I’ve had an amazing life that has touched millions of people all over the world,” he said, shortly before his death. “I’m flattered. The world needs more kindness.”
While working with your family might be a dream, show business wears on even the most tight-knit groups. No one knew this better than Marie Osmond. By the early ’70s, her brothers Alan, Wayne, Merill, Jay, and Donny had formed the musical quintet the Osmonds, and at age three, Marie was already performing alongside them.
Though Marie never became a regular member of the band, she was encouraged by her brothers’ management to try her hand at her own music career. She signed with MGM Records, and her country sound was vastly different than the Osmonds’ pop stylings.
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But audiences quickly took to the newest Osmond, and her 1973 debut single “Paper Roses” skyrocketed to number one on the country charts. She then followed up with “In My Little Corner of the World,” which charted on the Billboard country Top 40 in 1974.
Yet while Marie’s popularity was growing steadily, the Osmonds had begun losing steam. Record sales had dipped considerably by the mid-70s, leading a number of the brothers to branch off into solo careers.
Donny seemed to benefit the most from the band’s split, establishing himself as a teen idol and producing a slew of pop hits. With both he and Marie taking the industry by storm, fans were eager to see if the star siblings would eventually join forces.
Audiences got their wish in 1974 when the duo released a pair of duets: “I’m Leaving It All Up To You” and “Morning Side of the Mountain.” Both songs reached Top 10 on the pop charts, making it clear the pairing of Donny and Marie was one people loved.
On the heels of this success, Donny and Marie took a shot at entertainment by hosting their own variety show. The gamble paid off, and after a midseason pickup by ABC, Donny & Marie became one of television’s most popular programs from 1976 to 1978.
Yet while life seemed perfect for Marie Osmond, things weren’t as they appeared on the surface. Despite her bright smile and bubbly personality, the teen star concealed a dark secret for most of her young life.
Though mentions of it have popped up here and there over the years, Marie herself only recently confirmed the rumors during a 2018 interview with Dr. Oz. According to the superstar, this seemingly idyllic period of her life was plagued by regular sexual abuse.
She refused to name names – her abusers are long dead – though she revealed she was victimized by “people with very temporary access to my life, people I didn’t know well.” The star also claimed that her abusers invaded her privacy and even stole from her.
When asked about why she stayed silent for so long, Marie explained that abuse in the industry wasn’t something people were comfortable with talking about at the time. But perhaps her biggest reason to keep quiet – at least in her mind – was to protect her family.
According to Marie, her abusers were very well connected in the industry, and she feared reporting the abuse would cost the rest of her family their careers. So she hid her secret from the world, unaware of the toll it’d soon take on her physical and mental health.
For years, Marie struggled publicly with her weight, with many believing that the stress of superstardom had finally gotten to her. But Marie offered a different explanation: her weight gain wasn’t because of stress — it was because of the abuse.
“For me, I think part of my weight issue was I didn’t want to be pretty,” she told Dr. Oz. “It was almost like a defense.” Subconsciously, Marie believed that the more she ate and the heavier she became, the less inclined her abusers would be to pursue her.
But her weight problem quickly became a bane to her professional life, as her appearance was regularly scrutinized due to her constant presence in front of the camera. And these weren’t just kind suggestions – producers were merciless when it came to their criticisms.
“I had producers take me out into the parking lot when I was 103 pounds and tell me that I was obese, disgusting, and a disgrace to my family,” Marie recalled. “[They told me] that I needed to keep food out of my fat face.”
Not only did these comments destroy Marie’s self-esteem, but they also made her fear for her family much in the same way her abusers had done. She felt that if she didn’t lose enough weight, Donny & Marie would fail and hundreds of people would lose their jobs.
Yet despite years of struggle, Marie would overcome her weight problem and is now a spokeswoman for the Nutrisystem weight-loss program. With her abusive past behind her as well, she’s now free to focus on her still-thriving career alongside her brother.
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Since 2008, Donny and Marie have been performing a live version of their popular variety show at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas. The duo has earned a number of awards for their performances, including the Las Vegas Review-Journal‘s “Best Show” award in 2012.
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Unfortunately, the show likely won’t run much longer, as health issues have begun to take a toll on Donny. Still, whether performing in Vegas or not, Marie’s star seems destined to shine on for years to come.
After all, there are plenty of longtime stars that have continued to burn brightly even beyond their heydays. One such star recently revealed the wild reason she pushed herself so hard to succeed…
Barbra Streisand has been a performer for nearly all her life. Known for her acting, singing, songwriting, and film directing, the megastar recently revealed what drove her to this success!
Born into a Jewish family from Brooklyn, New York, in the early ’40s, young Barbra grew up smack dab in the middle of the entertainment and business world. Still, she felt lightyears away from it all as her family was not well off.
Her parents both worked at a school, but her father died when Babs was only a baby. Without him, the family suffered huge financial stresses — something that would come back into play once Barbra’s career took off.
As a young girl, she attended public school in Brooklyn, where developed an interest in acting. While she may have dreamed of being recognized for her acting chops, her neighbors praised her stunning singing voice.
Despite a flubbed audition with MGM records (at age 9!) she recovered gracefully. At age 13, she recorded a demo tape, starting her career much sooner than most people would’ve imagined.
When she graduated from high school, it was time for Barbra to make a difficult choice: stay with her family and get a job to support them, or leave them behind and follow her dreams of being in the spotlight?
No more than a week later, she moved into an apartment in Manhattan, ready to pursue her entertainment career. She started as an usher for The Sound of Music, but the director of the show encouraged her to keep auditioning.
In September of 1960, she opened for comedian Phyllis Diller at the Bon Soir nightclub. This was important on two fronts: it was her first paid gig and she got to practice humorous banter in between songs.
Since she was still auditioning for Broadway roles, she finally got cast for the musical I Can Get It For You Wholesale in 1962. Although her part was small, she earned a Tony Award as Best Supporting Actress and instantly broke through in the industry.
Fast forward to the late ’60s and early ’70s, when Barbra Streisand was becoming a household name. Opportunities in the film, theater, and music industries appeared left and right. She even tied with Katharine Hepburn for Best Actress!
From 1969 through 1980, Streisand appeared on the list of Top Ten Money-Making Stars ten different times, and she was frequently the only woman on the list. Her highest-earning project? The 1976 remake of A Star Is Born of course.
Meanwhile, Barbra was also working on her career as a pop singer and stealing hearts across the globe. Her debut album, The Barbra Streisand Album, peaked in the top 10 and won her 3 Grammy Awards. It didn’t stop there.
As Barbra continued to shoot movies, record award-winning albums, appear on countless TV shows, and made millions on millions, her family grew bitter. After all, her mother had worked hard to keep a roof over her head, and Barbra left her in the dust.
“I think sometimes there are parents who don’t really like themselves,” Streisand said. “They don’t like their offspring either. My mother meant well. She loved me as best she could. She had dreams of her own, and she wanted to be a singer.”
Still, that may be exactly what drove Barbra to succeed the way she did. “I just couldn’t please her. But I owe her my career. It was painful on the way up. I was always trying to prove to her that I was worthy of being somebody.”
In an attempt to be the mom that her own mother wasn’t, Barbra fully supports her only child’s career in any way that she can. Her son, Jason – whose father is Elliott Gould – took after both parents and became an artist, writer, and film director.
“We sang together every night when I put him to sleep, so he knew lots of songs as a baby,” Barbra said. “I never heard him sing again until he was 15. I heard him hum through a closed door, and I said, ‘Jason, that is the most beautiful hum.”’
After getting remarried in 1998 to her current husband, James Brolin, Barbra finally felt as loved as she deserved. “People who have two parents who love them are very lucky. They are not left with a hole to fill. And it’s very hard to fill. You have to fill it with yourself eventually.”
And what type of love is more unconditional than a dog’s? Her pup was an unconditional comfort that got her through the tough times. But when she lost her beloved pet, she couldn’t cope with the pain — another way in which her past haunted her.
Streisand’s dog, a sweet 14-year-old Coton du Tulear named Samantha, was a shaggy, white-haired pup who had long been a mainstay in the megastar’s life and on her social media feeds. Even the fans adored her.
Sadly, in 2017, Samantha passed away. As is the case when anyone loses their beloved pet, this devastated Streisand. “It was like losing a child,” she recalled. Obviously, she would do practically anything to get her puppy back—if only she could.
Eventually, she decided it was time to welcome some new dogs into her home. Yet her social media followers began noticing something strange about these new dogs: they all looked exactly the same. Like… exactly.
Turns out, they weren’t wrong about the similarities. As Streisand revealed in an interview with Variety, she’d become so attached to her pup during the 14 years they shared together that she chose to do something most would only joke about: she cloned her!
The result was two identical dogs named Miss Violet and Miss Scarlet, who were brought into this world in late 2017. While they were mirror images of Samantha physically, there were a few differences…
“They have different personalities,” Streisand explained to reporters when news of the cloning first broke. “I’m waiting for them to get older so I can see if they have [Samantha’s] brown eyes and seriousness.”
Genetically, Miss Violet and Miss Scarlet were pretty much twins. In fact, they looked so similar that Streisand dressed them in different clothing—one in lavender and the other in red, hence their names—in order to tell them apart.
There was also a third dog—Miss Fanny—whose name referenced the Academy-Award winning actress’s role as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl. While not a clone herself, she was a distant cousin of Samantha’s.
While cloning an animal might seem like something only possible in a science fiction movie, it’s actually a practice that’s been around for the past 20 years. The first known animal to be cloned was Dolly the sheep in 1996.
Dolly might have been the first cloned animal, but she wasn’t the only one. Almost 10 years later—in 2005—a team of scientists at Seoul National University in South Korea cloned the first dog, an Afghan hound named Snuppy.
Then in 2016, Nubia, a Jack Russell terrier, became the first dog to be cloned in the United States by the Texas-based company ViaGen. Of course, this opened the doors for people like Streisand to have their beloved dogs cloned.
Regardless of success rates, cloning a dog is a rather expensive procedure. It makes sense that you only really hear of the wealthiest people doing it. So, how much did cloning Samantha set Streisand back?
In recent years, Sooam Biotech Research Foundation—the South Korean laboratory responsible for successfully cloning upwards of 600 dogs since 2006—charged interested customers a whopping $100,000 to clone their pooches!
As of now, ViaGen charges $50,000 for dogs and $25,000 for cats, and it’s still the only company in the United States that clones pets. This was how Streisand was able to bring Samantha back into the world.
Cloning animals will likely become more affordable in the future. Still, some people are opposed to the practice for clear ethical reasons. For instance, author John Woestendiek, who wrote the book Dog, Inc., hopes to stop it before it’s too late.
Chief among his concerns was that there were plenty of dogs in the world who didn’t have homes. “One is the sort of philosophical question of whether we really need new ways to make dogs when so many are already being put down in shelters,” he explained.
Another concern was that it would take multiple animals—more than 12 separate dogs in heat—to harvest enough egg cells in order to clone just one. Once the cells were collected, they would be implanted into a surrogate, who would then carry the pregnancy.
In the meantime, celebrities and others who can afford it will likely continue to clone their pets, especially when they reach their twilight years. It’s simply their way of dealing with such a devastating loss.
And as for Streisand? She seemed content with her choice. Still, since the dogs hadn’t turned out to be exactly like her beloved Samantha, she likely had to learn that there were no guarantees when it came to dogs—even if they were clones.