Then & now Shaun Cassidy

YOUR BIG BROTHER called them The Nancy Boys and Hardy Drew , but you ignored him

YOUR BIG BROTHER called them The Nancy Boys and Hardy Drew, but you ignored him. They were The Hardy Boys, TV's favourite teen sleuths, who, along with their friend Nancy Drew, solved more mysteries than Scooby-Dooand Sherlock Holmesput together. The programme's star, Shaun Cassidy, may have had girlie hair and a girlie pout, but he was the man of your girlhood dreams, and also a pop heartthrob whose records sold in their millions.

Showbiz was all in the family – dad Jack Cassidy and mom Shirley Jones were stars of stage and screen. Jack guested on TV shows such as Get Smart, Bewitched, Columboand Hawaii Five-O, while Shirley had a successful film career, earning an Oscar in 1960 for her role in Elmer Gantry, opposite Burt Lancaster. But she is probably best known as the keyboard-tinkling mother in The Partridge Family.The show, about a pop-music family also starred Shirley's stepson, David Cassidy, who is Shaun's older half-brother.

The show made David a huge pop star in the early 1970s, but when the hits ran out, it was Shaun's turn to take the baton and take over teenage hearts. He signed a record deal in 1975, and scored a big US hit in 1977 with his version of Da Do Ron Ron.

His fame was cemented when he took the role of Joe Hardy in a series based on the successful Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew children's detective books. By the end of the first season , Shaun Cassidy was the Justin Bieber of his time, causing teenage girls to swoon with one flick of his pageboy hairdo. Fans could buy posters, calendars, lunchboxes and diaries adorned with his girlie visage; the only thing they couldn't do was visit his Facebook page or follow him on Twitter. But young Shaun was determined not to let it all go to his head, telling Peoplemagazine: "I've been around showbiz a long time and I know it's ephemeral. It's Disneyland. It's not the real world."


When The Hardy Boyswere put out to pasture in 1979, and his musical career began to wane, Shaun could no longer rely on hordes of screaming teens to keep him in hair products. He married a Playboyplaymate, Ann Pennington, and tried vainly to court a more mature audience with his 1980 album Wasp, produced by Todd Rundgren.

With his TV and music biz options closing, Cassidy found work on the stage, starring in a Broadway production of Blood Brotherswith his half-brother David. Over the past 20 years, however, he has worked behind the scenes as a writer and producer. In 2009, he helmed a new project with an old ring to it. Ruby The Rockitswas a sitcom about a musical family that starred, yes, David Cassidy, as an ageing pop star going back on the road, with Alexa Vega from Spy Kidsin the title role. Alas, Ruby The Rockits failed to lift off, and was cancelled after one season. What next for Shaun – a sitcom about a former TV star and pop idol trying to make it as a TV producer? Don't rule it out.