In 2002 I had the pleasure of seeing Shirley Jones perform at Hyde Hall. It isn’t often we get a star of her magnitude at a local venue and it was exciting to see her in person.
Jones was the consummate professional, singing show tunes and regaling the crowd with tales of her professional life. She definitely knew how to connect with her audience.
Old-timers will recall Shirley from such classic Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals as “Oklahoma!” and “The Music Man.” For most baby-boomers like me, she will always be remembered as Shirley Partridge, the All-American mom on the hit television series, “The Partridge Family.” “The Partridge Family” ran from 1970 to 1974 and followed the adventures and misadventures of a rock-and-roll singing American family (it was inspired by the real-life singing family, The Cowsills). The show is probably best known for launching the singing career of teen idol David Cassidy who played Jones’ oldest son and is her step-son by her first marriage to actor Jack Cassidy.
Jones carried the image of a wholesome, small-town girl and ideal mom her whole life. She grew up in a small town near Pittsburgh and for a long time seemed- to-be happily married to Cassidy, raising three sons of her own (including another teen idol, Shawn Cassidy). Even though she eventually got a divorce, there seemed nothing about her that would spoil her “sweetheart” image.
Shirley has just penned her autobiography and in it reveals a side that the public never knew existed. Simply titled “Shirley Jones: A Memoir” it begins with her telling her readers they are going to be in for a few surprises. Apparently she decided that as she approaches her 80th birthday she isn’t going to worry about image. She bares all about everything in her life.