He first came to public attention playing wisecracking redhead Danny "Danny" Partridge on the Partridge Family tv show, which ripped off The Cowsills in the manner of The Monkees ripping off The Beatles. That show went off the air in 1974, and even though Danny was very good at playing a wisecracking redhead kid brother, he found but limited demand for his acting services thereafter. Within three years he was doing The Love Boat and making quickie auto theft movies with Farrah Fawcett and the late Sonny Bono (R, CA).
Danny had a childhood which could best be described as awful; his father, who wrote sitcoms such as The Andy Griffith Show and One Day at a Time, is said to have beaten him regularly. This tendency to use fists where wits might serve better was to surface again and again in Danny's life.
But think about it. What would you do? What would you do? Here, one minute you're famous for being on a tv show, pretending to sing along with Susan Dey and getting to hear Shirley Jones and David Cassidy sing for real, and the next minute no one wants you to fake anything. Fame is a harsh mistress. Danny soon found himself a mister without a mattress, homeless on the streets of LA, a drug abuser seriously in need of mental rehabilitation. Cassidy, whose post-teen idol career has not been the second act that there aren't any of anyway even hired him as a supporting act in his Las Vegas show for a while, but that failed to cause a stampede of eager ticket buyers.
What's sad about America sometimes is how we so worship fame that we are even somewhat in awe of those who once had it. Bonaduce came to find out that he could always turn a quick $500 by appearing at KMart stores at the holidays, billed as a Partridge in a pear tree. 500 bucks is 500 bucks, and it led to even greater media exposure as a radio sidekick, and then as the host of his own radio shows in Phoenix, Los Angeles, and now Philadelphia. For one season he had a syndicated talk show titled "Oprah" I mean titled "Danny" in which he tried day after day to show just how pugnacious he was willing to become for money. One sad highlight of that show was his promised reunion of the Partridge Family cast, except that Susan Dey called in with her memories and David Cassidy was too busy recording an album that no one was going to buy. Sort of like saying we were gonna have spaghetti and meatballs except I cut out carbs and meat, so here's some sauce.
Danny, never shy with an opinion that might not be too popular, has taken a sharp rightward turn away from the peace and love of the Partridge 70's, lambasting Jane Fonda and Rosie O'Donnell for expressing political viewpoints unlike his own. But this sort of stuff keeps him in the public eye. In his job as a wacky morning radio host up in the City of Brotherly Love, he regularly incites petty feuds with such as Jose Canseco, former baseball player best remembered for having a fly ball bounce off his skull and over the fence for a homerun, and also for bouncing off Madonna. Recently, Danny boxed Canseco to a draw, the point of the match still being in question.
Yes, we Americans love our stars and still want to keep them in the firmament (maybe to keep a wary eye on them.) As Dante Bonaduce nears a half-century of this life, he can surely look back on the recent show The Smoking Gun Presents: World's Dumbest.. in which he ripped off one of his own eyebrows.
Whatever's best for him, as long as he keeps it classy.