(Image credit: Earl Theisen for Look magazine)

Posted by Ellen

Just a few years after this picture was taken of singer-actress Shirley Jones, her son Shaun Cassidy at right, and her stepson David Cassidy at left, David had become the most famous pretty-boy teenybopper bubblegum pop idol on the planet, and Shirley and David were starring together in The Partridge Family, a 1970s television series about a whole family of pretty little pop singers.

Little brother Shaun wasn't far behind. He signed a record contract with Warner Brothers while he was still in high school and was soon singing and touring and eventually acting on TV just like his brother. Both boys had numerous top-40 hits but eventually left the music business behind; Shaun went into scriptwriting, while David outgrew his boyish persona and also grew uncomfortable with his celebrity, especially after a young girl was trampled to death in the crowd at one of his concerts. He eventually moved to Saratoga Springs, New York, and devoted himself to raising and racing thoroughbreds.

Shaun and David briefly came out of their retirements in 1993, when they appeared together on stage for the first time in the Broadway production of Blood Brothers, a musical imported from London about twins separated at birth. Displaying their sweet, essentially identical singing voices, they performed a duet from that show on TV, for Regis and Cathy Lee.

Shirley, meanwhile, starred in numerous movies, including Oklahoma and, shortly after this picture was taken, The Music Man. In 1960, she won an Oscar for Elmer Gantry, in which she was cast against type as a vengeful prostitute. She said she was warned before starting The Partridge Family that doing a TV series would kill her career; the audience would never get beyond thinking of her as Shirley Partridge. But she had children at home and welcomed the stability and regular hours of television work. Also, she was beginning to age out of leading-lady roles.

In 1962, when she'd starred with Robert Preston in The Music Man, she'd been pregnant with Shaun's little brother Patrick. Wardrobers on the set had had to alter her costumes as the pregnancy progressed, and it is said that the look on Robert Preston's face during the scene at the footbridge reflected in part his surprise at feeling the baby kick.

Baby Patrick also grew up to go into show business, appearing frequently on TV and on the Broadway stage. His mother did in fact have trouble getting good roles after The Partridge Family ended in 1974, despite her Oscar and the huge success of many of her movies. Last year, however, everything came full circle: Patrick played Professor Harold Hill in The Music Man for California Musical Theatre, and Shirley played the Widow Paroo, the mother of the leading character she'd played in 1962 when Patrick was still in utero.