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1970s / Jeremy Gelbwaks - Original Chris Partridge
The Partridge Family was an ABC musical sitcom that ran for four seasons from 1970 to 1974. The show's premise was that recently widowed mother Shirley Partridge and her five children decide to form a pop group to make ends meet and earn money for the children's college funds. The show was loosely based on the real family musical group The Cowsills. In the show's first season Chris Partridge, the drummer and youngest son, was played by Jeremy Gelbwaks. (He seldom had more than two lines in an episode. In fact, in the last episode Gelbwaks appeared in, he had no lines whatsoever.) After the 1970-71 season Gelbwaks was replaced in the cast by Brian Forster. The reason why the change was made varies depending upon whom you ask. Gelbwaks' father was a federal government employee whose job forced him to relocate from California to Virginia just as the show's first season was concluding. The move made it difficult for Jeremy to continue his role as Chris Partridge. However, stories persist that Gelbwaks was a hellion on the set and the show's producers wanted to get rid of him. Danny Bonaduce (who played middle son Danny Partridge--and was admittedly no angel himself) once stated in an interview that Gelbwaks was "psychotic." David Cassidy (who played oldest son and teen heartthrob Keith Partridge) apparently couldn't stand Gelbwaks' on-set antics--which included kicking other cast members just before the director called "Action!" Whether Gelbwaks left on his own accord because of his family's out-of-state move or whether he was was forced out of the cast because of his bad behavior remains a matter of conjecture. Perhaps it was a combination of the two. ABC received zero letters of complaint regarding the cast change. Gelbwaks never worked in show business again. According to a fansite, Gelbwaks is married and lives in New Orleans. Gelbwaks appeared on Danny Bonaduce's short-lived syndicated talk show in 1995 when most of The Partridge Family cast gathered for a 25th anniversary reunion. Both Chrises made appearances on that program and there seemed to be no animosity among those who were present. (David Cassidy was unavailable to appear, however.)