The Dramatic Life of Danny Bonaduce (Revised)

By Courtney Marmon

Danny Bonaduce doesn’t consider himself to be an actor. But, the Philadelphia Morning Talk Show Host cannot deny that his life has been dramatic. Spending the past year on skydiving adventures, swimming with sharks and even taking a Polar Bear Plunge for charity, Bonaduce said in a recent interview, “I live my life in accordance to the laws that I agree with.” He continues later, “When the little red light goes off [in the radio station studio] and I have to control my behavior, I don’t know what to do.”

Maybe that’s because he’s already done almost everything. At only four years old Bonaduce joined the Screen Actors Guild, and by the time he was ten had landed a starring role on ABC’s “The Partridge Family.” Stealing the show with his quick wit and charm, Bonaduce became a household name before he hit puberty. However, after only four seasons “The Partridge Family” was cancelled and Bonaduce found himself looking for his next big break on the small screen. Throughout the 1980’s he appeared in several guest spots on television sitcoms, but was drifting further and further away from the limelight; and by the time he was sixteen years old, Bonaduce was unemployed.

Coping with his ex-child star status Bonaduce began abusing drugs throughout his twenties. He struggled with an addiction to crack cocaine, which lead to a steady demise in his career; as Bonaduce’s star-appeal dwindled so did his bank account. He recalls his misfortune and his brief stint of homelessness: “I had no money after ‘The Partridge Family’ ended. The only difference between me and the ‘Golden Voice’ man is that I [didn’t] have a golden voice.” For nearly two years Bonaduce says he was living out of his car in Los Angeles.

Unashamed of his homelessness, Bonaduce was offered a trip to Chicago to discuss the truth behind being homeless, and was paid $2,000 for sharing his story. After the radio program aired, he received similar offers from other radio stations. Soon enough Bonaduce was making thousands of dollars by telling his colorful stories of being broke on the radio.

Discovering a passion for radio, Bonaduce began pursuing a career as a radio talk-show host. Now, more than twenty years after his first show aired on Philadelphia’s Eagle 106, Bonaduce uses his four hours of unscripted air on “The Danny Bonaduce Show” to talk about life’s quirks; he said that his most successful segment was discussing callers’ personal oddities. Discussing topics that he and his callers find interesting, Bonaduce says radio provides him with a sense of freedom. He says that he “waits for his material to find him.” He enjoys the spontaneity of talk-radio, and the fact that he doesn’t know exactly which direction the show will take until he’s in the act of creating it while on the air.

Bonaduce advised during a recent interview, “people with stars in their eyes should not drive.” And the limelight has certainly taken a backseat in Bonaduce’s life. He says he’s happy with his career as a radio-host and that his only interest in Hollywood being to watch its drama unfold on television, from the comfort of his couch. When asked whether or not he wants his kids to follow in his infamous footsteps toward an acting career, he says in a serious voice, “Did you ever try feeding your family from being an icon?” He continues, “I don’t think acting is a respectable profession for anyone with an IQ above Forrest Gump.”


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