Bernard Slade, creator of The Partridge Family, dies at 89
Bernard Slade, the creator of The Partridge Family, has died. He was 89.
Slade died on Wednesday from complications of Lewy body dementia, according to The Hollywood Reporter. A seasoned TV writer and playwright, he was best known for creating the 1970s TV series The Partridge Family, which starred Shirley Jones as the head of a fictional family singing group. The series fan for four seasons on ABC and reinvigorated Jones’ career, while also launching David Cassidy into teen heartthrob status.
Slade was nominated for an Oscar for his 1978 screen adaptation of his play of the same name, Same Time, Next Year. The original play, which starred Ellen Burstyn and Charles Grodin, was a Broadway hit, earning Burstyn a 1975 Tony Award and running for 1453 performances. Alan Alda starred opposite Burstyn in the film version. In the story, Doris and George, who are married to other people, meet once a year for sex and conversation.
Slade also wrote many plays for the Broadway stage, most notably Tribute starring Jack Lemmon, and 1979’s Romantic Comedy starring Mia Farrow and Anthony Perkins. He adapted both plays for big-screen versions.
While The Partridge Family is his biggest television legacy, Slade also wrote for Bewitched and developed two Sally Field vehicles: The Flying Nun and The Girl With Something Extra.
Slade, whose full name was Bernard Slade Newbound, was born May 2, 1930 in St. Catharines, Ontario. He and his family returned to their native England in 1935, where he then became a child evacuee during World War II. He began his career as an actor, returning to Canada where he appeared in more than 200 plays, including opposite his wife Jill Foster during a 26-week season of regional theater in Ontario where they put on a play a week.
Slade sold his first television script, The Prizewinner, to NBC in 1957 before ultimately relocating to Los Angeles in 1964. His first major writing job was on Bewitched, where he worked as a story editor and wrote 17 episodes.
He went on to have a prolific career in television, creating ABC’s Love on a Rooftop and CBS’ Bridget Loves Bernie, in addition to The Partridge Family and the Sally Field-led series. His frustrations with network executives led him to return to the theatre, this time as a playwright. Same Time, Next Year marked his first project back and it went on to become a massive hit.
His final Broadway play, Special Occasions, was produced in 1982. He also wrote several plays never produced on Broadway that continue to remain popular with audiences around the world, including Return Engagements, Act of the Imagination, Fatal Attraction, You Say Tomatoes, and Same Time, Another Year.
In 2000, Slade penned a memoir, Shared Laughter, covering the span of his life.
Slade was married to actress Jill Foster for 64 years before she died in 2017, and he often cited her as an inspiration for this most famous female characters. He is survived by his sister, Shirley Rabone, his two children, Laurie Newbound and Chris Newbound, and four grand-daughters, Caitlin Slade Friedman, Madison H. Newbound, Emma Friedman and Hailey Herring-Newbound.