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Actress-singer Evelyn Ward dies at 89

Was mother of actor-singer David Cassidy

Evelyn Ward, an actress and singer with credits on Broadway, in nightclubs and on television and the mother of David Cassidy, died Dec. 23 in Los Angeles. She was 89 and suffered from Alzheimer’s-related dementia.

Ward began her career as a Roxyette at New York’s Roxy Theater in the early 1940s. She understudied Mary Martin in “Dancing in the Streets” and made her Broadway debut in “Early to Bed.” Other Broadway credits include “The Firebrand of Florence” (1945) with future husband Jack Cassidy, “Spring in Brazil” with Milton Berle (1945), “Billion Dollar Baby” (1946), “Heaven on Earth (1948) and “Along Fifth Avenue” with Jackie Gleason (1949). In 1958, she replaced Gwen Verdon in the Broadway company of “New Girl in Town.”

Her credits in regional legit include “Show Boat,” “Where’s Charley?,” “High Button Shoes,” “The Boys From Syracuse,” “The Pajama Game,” “Girl Crazy” and “Paint Your Wagon.” The latter two productions, both from 1955, were directed by her future second husband, Elliot Silverstein, later the director of the 1965 comedy-Western “Cat Ballou.”

Ward also performed in nightclubs (Carnival Room, Copacabana, Latin Quarter) and in 1954 appeared in a musical revue emceed by Ronald Reagan at the Last Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas.

On the smallscreen, Ward was a regular on the early variety series “Manhattan Showcase” (1949) and “The College Bowl” with Chico Marx (1950). She also appeared in episodes of “Omnibus” (1956), “Mike Hammer” and “The Further Adventures of Ellery Queen” (1959), “Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse” (1960), “Dr. Kildare” (1961 and 1965), “Perry Mason” (1962), “Breaking Point” (1963) and “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” (1965).

She came out of retirement in April 1996 to co-star in the musical “Such a Pretty Face.”

Ward’s third husband, Al Williams, died in 2005.

In addition to her son David, she is survived by two grandchildren, Beau Cassidy, a singer-songwriter, and actress Katie Cassidy.

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