Classic TV Moms: Shirley Partridge in The Partridge Family (1970-74)

They didn’t bring you into this world, change your diapers or even ferry you to and from soccer practice. But to a lot of us, the moms on TV were the next best momthing to our own. Here, the second in our occasional look at classic TV Moms we pay tribute to Shirley Partridge of The Partridge Family.

In an early-’70s sitcom universe still dominated by submissive mothers, Shirley Partridge (portrayed by the Academy Award-winning Shirley Jones) rocked our world.

A widow with five kids and a sweet two-story San Pueblo, California, house, she wasn’t looking to play Hollywood squares with some widower who had three boys of his own. She was too busy.

First off, she had two teenagers to manage: Keith (played by then heartthrob David Cassidy) and Laurie (then waif-model Susan Dey). There was the precocious, freckle-faced adolescent son, Danny (future ex-con and radio talk-show host Danny Bonaduce), and the young percussionist son named Christopher, who changed bodies halfway through the series. (Actor Jeremy Gelbwaks started the role; Brian Forster took it over after the first season–talk about growing pains!) And who could forget the baby of the family, daughter Tracy (Suzanne Crough).

As if handling moody pop stars weren’t enough, Shirley also had to control manager Reuben Kincaid’s (David Madden) ambition and Danny’s schemes. She still had time to perfect her guitar playing and keep the band’s Kesey-colored bus a-rollin’. Shirley Partridge: Superstar, supermom.

Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.