If you have watched The Partridge Show, you must remember Susan Dey. The character Laurie Partridge that Susan Dey played shot the young actress to fame. Susan soon became one of the most famous actresses in Hollywood. Let’s talk about her little-known story in more detail.
Susan Hallock Dey was born on December 10, 1952, in Pekin Illinois. Her father was Robert Smith Dey, who was an editor for the Standard-Star in New Rochelle, New York. Shortly after Susan’s birth, the family moved to New York due to Robert Dey’s work. Her mother was Ruth Dey who tragically passed away when Susan was just eight. The death took a huge toll on the young star, but luckily, with the support of her father, they were able to help each other as they grieved.
Susan began modeling when she was 15 years old. Her first modeling break was the cover photo for a booklet by Pursettes tampons on the facts of menstruation for young girls called "Getting to Know Yourself". When she was 17 years old, she was offered the role of Laurie Partridge in The Partridge Family. The show revolved around a family that wanted to make it in the music world after they formed a band together.
Susan didn’t have much experience in acting when she took her role in The Partridge Show. She was not a trained actress or singer and had never done anything similar before. However, Susan pulled out all of the stops to give it her best and she managed to get hands-on experience and developed her acting skills on the job as a result.
The pressures of fame often have a negative effect and this also happened to Susan. During her late teens, all eyes were on the actress and she felt more and more pressure to keep slim and beautiful. At that time, Susan began to restrict her diet to remain as slim as possible. She was only 92lbs and her fingers began to go orange as she ate too many carrots.
When Susan kept a strict diet, everyone around her could see that her body was in danger. Thankfully, once she turned up in a bathing suit for one of the scenes, one of the cast, Danny Bonaduce reacted in shock instead of admiration. Susan suddenly realized that her eating habits were all wrong. As a result, she started to put on more weight. She finally realized that she had been suffering from an eating disorder and that it would be a lengthy battle to truly overcome it. After that, she took control of her health and eating habits.
The Partridge Show is a sitcom famous for its music. As a result, Susan had to show her singing skills in the show. In fact, Susan was a very talented musician and she could play the piano and the organ. However, her singing voice often came under fire. Critics often said that the creators could have chosen another actress with a natural singing voice. In fact, even Shirley Jones, one of her fellow cast members, voiced concerns her voice wasn’t beautiful enough.
After The Partridge Show, Susan gained a huge following. She decided to take her first movie role in Skyjacked in 1972. The movie is an adaption of a book released in 1970 and the movie became an immediate hit. She played the role of Elly Brewster, a passenger on a hijacked plane.
The Partridge Show was eventually canceled by ABC due to declining audience numbers after its fourth season. All in all, the cast was able to record 96 episodes and eight albums throughout this time. Because of The Partridge Show, CBS created an animated spin-off series called Partridge Family 2200 A.D. The new series focused on lives of the Partridge family in the future. Susan Dey reprised her character for a couple of episodes before she was ultimately sacked and replaced.
Susan’s first husband, Lenny Hirshan, was actually her agent at the time. Although she was 25 years younger than Lenny, they two fell in love and were married in 1976. They had a daughter named Sarah, who was born in 1978. However, the marriage ended in divorce in 1981. It was also rumored that at that time, Susan was struggling with a drinking problem and that was the main cause of the marriage breakdown.
Susan accepted the lead role in Mary Jane Harper Cried Last Night in 1977. The film achieved great success and won a Golden Globe Award. It was about a mother who was struggling with many personal issues whilst doing her best to bring up her child. Susan also starred with William Katt in First Love, a romantic drama, that same year.
There can be no doubt that Susan’s most famous role after The Partridge Family was the legal drama, L.A. Law. Susan played Grace Van Owen, a district attorney and judge from 1986 to 1992. The opportunity came to her when she met one of the creators of the show at a school event with her daughter. Her role saw her nominated for several different awards, including the Golden Globe for the best performance by an actress in a TV drama series in 1988.
Susan went into her second marriage with Bernard Sofronski in 1988. The ceremony was held only before a small group of very close friends and family. Bernard was a successful television producer at the time. The couple has now been married for 30 years and they both appear to be just as in love as they first met each other.
In 1992, Susan Dey was offered the opportunity to host the hilarious sketch show Saturday Night Live. Susan worked alongside other actors on the show and even entered into a competition to see which show came out on top.
She has been one of the most prolific actresses of the 90s, being offered many movie and TV roles. Most notably, she starred in Bed of Lies and Blue River. She also accepted a role in Love and War. However, she was fired by producers who claimed Susan didn’t have much acting talent and didn’t have good chemistry with other cast members.
Susan decided to take her final movie role in 2013. She took the role of Diane Davis in Rain. In the movie, she followed the life of a German Shepard named Rain who was drafted in to help the army in times of war. However, the movie turned out to be a complete flop and it was unfortunate for Susan to end her big screen career in such a way.
The final TV appearance Susan made was as Dr. Beene in Third Watch in 2004. In the show, she helped other cast members to solve crimes and catch criminals. However, she only turned up in two episodes of the show and she has not worked on anything since then.
In The Partridge Family, Susan had a crush on one of the cast members, David Cassidy. They actually dated for a while but the relationship didn’t work out. Although Susan had many adoring fans who tried to get close to her, the buzz around David was much more intense. One crazy fan even broke into his hotel room! In the end, David and Susan decided to end it. David later wrote about their relationship in his autobiography and Susan was quite angry. Since the revelations, they haven’t spoken.
In 2010, the original cast of The Partridge Family reunited for a special reunion show. However, Susan refused to attend as she didn’t want to see David Cassidy. David understood why Susan was missing and he admitted publicly that he was upset, as he still wanted to remain friends with Susan.
Susan struggled emotionally when she discovered Suzanne Crough had passed away in April 2015. Suzanne played the youngest Partridge family member, Tracy Partridge in The Partridge Family and maintained a close relationship with Susan.