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January 16, 2014

North Terre Haute’s Dave Madden, 'Partridge Family' agent, dies in Fla.

NEW YORK — Comic actor Dave Madden, who played the child-hating agent on the hit 1970s sitcom “The Partridge Family,” died in Florida on Thursday at age 82.

Madden died at a hospice center near his home in the Jacksonville area, his niece Mary Frances Miller said.

Towering and rumpled, Madden was best known for his role as Reuben Kinkaid, who managed the Partridge family band and regularly clashed with its impish pre-teen bassist, played by Danny Bonaduce.

While the series starred Shirley Jones, with her real-life stepson David Cassidy as the resident heart-throb, it was Madden and the freckle-faced Bonaduce who became the reigning comic duo.

Jones said Madden “made the show, I felt.”

“His relationship with Danny Bonaduce is what made the show work: this strange, mad little boy and the grown man who was even worse as a father figure,” she said Thursday. “It was hysterical!”

But though Madden played a guy bedeviled by the youngsters who surrounded him, Jones said that off-camera he “loved kids.”

And Bonaduce later wrote how during his troubled youth Madden served as his surrogate father.

Before “The Partridge Family,” Madden was part of the ensemble on the “Laugh-In” comedy series, sipping and sometimes spitting milk along with joining in the show's zany sketches and crazy jokes. He later had a recurring role as one of the customers at Mel’s Diner on the long-running sitcom “Alice.”

Madden was born in Ontario, Canada, and grew up in North Terre Haute, Ind. He began show business as a nightclub comic and then landed his first acting job on the short-lived sitcom “Camp Runamuck” in the mid-1960s.

During his career, he also appeared on such series as “Bewitched,” “'Barney Miller,” “Happy Days,” “The Love Boat” and “Fantasy Island.”

In 2007 he published a memoir, “Reuben on Wry.”

Survivors include his wife, a daughter and a son.

 

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