Comic actor

Comic actor

Born: December 17, 1931; Died: January 16, 2014

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Dave Madden, who has died aged 82, was a comic actor who played the child-hating agent Reuben Kinkaid in the 1970s sitcom The Partridge Family. He 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 freckle-faced Bonaduce who became the reigning comic duo.

Born in Ontario, Canada, Madden grew up in North Terre Haute, Indiana. As a child, he developed an interest in magic, which he later incorporated into an act he began to perform in his home town. He then began training as a teacher but dropped out to join the Air Force, serving in Libya where he performed for the troops.

After the Air Force, he became a nightclub comic and was spotted performing in LA by Frank Sinatra, who recommended him to Ed Sullivan. Madden then made several appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, which landed him his first acting job on the sitcom Camp Runamuck in the mid-1960s.

He then became part of the ensemble case on the Laugh-In comedy series from 1968 to 69, 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.

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 autobiography, Reuben On Wry.

Madden did not always have an easy relationship with the fame that The Partridge Family brought him.

"I've always said that of fame and fortune - the two things one seems to go after when they go into show business, they want to be famous and they want to make a lot of money - I found that making a lot of money was suddenly not as important," he said.

"Making enough money was important, but not necessarily making a lot. And fame was not at all what it was cracked up to be as far as I was concerned. I found fame to be somewhat of a prison. The more famous you were, the smaller the cell that you had to live in."

Paying tribute to Madden, Shirley Jones said he had made The Partridge Family the success it was. "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. 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.

Madden is survived by his wife, daughter and son.