Who was Dave Madden?
Dave Madden was a Canadian–American actor, best known for his performance as band manager ‘Reuben Kincaid’ in the series ‘The Partridge Family.’ Born in Ontario, Canada, and raised in Indiana, US, he learned magic tricks while recuperating from an accident. While serving the ‘US Air Force,’ he entertained at camp shows by performing magic-comedy acts. He continued to perform during his university days and even after graduation. For a few years, he worked at local nightclubs. He then moved to Los Angeles. Noticed by celebrities, he got a chance to be on the ‘Ed Sullivan Show.’ This led him to a role in the series ‘Camp Runamuck.’ He was asked to join the ‘Laugh-In’ tour and later became part of the ‘Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In’ show. The role of band manager ‘Reuben Kincaid’ in ‘The Partridge Family’ made him a household name. Another notable role that he played was that of basketball coach ‘Earl Hicks’ in the sitcom ‘Alice.’ He also guest-starred in several movies and series. He enjoyed a successful career as a voice actor. He died of complications due to myelodysplastic syndrome at 82.
Childhood & Early Life
David Joseph Madden was born on December 17, 1931, in Sarnia, Lambton County, Ontario, Canada, to Verna Burleigh Madden and Roger Madden. The youngest of four children, he was born in Canada because his mother wished to reduce the medical cost of his delivery. His older sister was a nun and taught at the Catholic grade school. She had taken up the name “Mary Roger.” He had two older brothers, Richard and Jack Madden.
His father died when Madden was 2. Following this, he was sent to live with his aunt, Bess, and his uncle, Frank Hoff, in Terre Haute, Indiana. At 13, when he was in eighth grade, his bicycle got hit by a car and he suffered multiple fractures on his leg and skull. His recuperation took a long time, as his fractures did not heal for 3 months. His aunt got him a magic book, ‘101 Tricks You Can Do,’ from which Madden created a magic act of his own. While studying at the ‘Otter Creek High School,’ he performed the magic act at PTA meetings and other events. He was also the joke editor for the school paper. He graduated in 1950.
Madden enrolled at the ‘Indiana State Teachers College’ but left after the first semester. He then joined the ‘US Air Force’ and worked for the ‘Special Services’ in Tripoli, Libya. During this period, he created a comedy-magic act and entertained the troops. He also performed in front of the King of Libya and Arabs, who named him “Scookoo,” or “the crazy one.”
After completion of his ‘Air Force’ service, Madden performed locally in the Winter Park area of Florida, where his aunt and uncle stayed back then. He then studied communications at the ‘University of Miami’ and graduated in 1959. While at the university, he turned his comedy-magic act into a comedy act and worked as stand-up comic.
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For some years after his university graduation, Madden performed at local clubs. He then moved to Los Angeles to work at the nightclubs there. He did an opening act for the Crosby brothers at the ‘Palm Springs’ club. Frank Sinatra was impressed with his act and helped him get a spot on the ‘Ed Sullivan Show’ for 3 nights (1963).
Madden appeared in the pilot of the sitcom ‘Camp Runamuck’ (1965–1966). The series, which featured him as ‘Camp Counselor Pruett,’ was his first acting stint and his first regular series role.
Folowing the series, Madden went back to his nightclub performances. He guest-starred in single episodes of the series ‘Accidental Family’ (1967) and ‘Bewitched’ (1969).
During this period, Madden was invited to join the ‘Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In’ tour with his act. They did summer tours for 2 years, after which he was made part of the ‘Laugh-In’ show on TV, as a series regular (1968–1969). This show made him a national phenomenon. In 1969, he left the TV show, as he wished to do new things in life.
Soon, in December 1969, he shot for the pilot of the series ‘The Partridge Family.’ With the success of the series, Madden earned fame as ‘Reuben Kincaid,’ the beleaguered band manager of the ‘Partridge’ family band, who claimed to hate children and was always troubled by them. The clashes between ‘Reuben Kincaid’ and the young, impish bassist of the band, played by Danny Bonaduce, created interesting moments in this ‘ABC’ series. It ran from 1970 to 1974.
Simultaneously, he also made guest appearances in ‘Love American Style’ (1972–1973). In 1973, he lent his voice to the character of ‘Ram’ in the ‘Hanna-Barbera’ animation feature film ‘Charlotte’s Web.’ He appeared in guest roles in series such as ‘Happy Days’ (1974), ‘Starsky and Hutch’ (1977), ‘The Love Boat’ (1978), ‘Fantasy Island’ (1979), and ‘Mulligan’s Stew’ (1977).
In 1976, Madden played the role of basketball coach ‘Earl Hicks’ in the sitcom ‘Alice.’ Originally meant to be a guest role, it was later turned into a recurring role. He appeared in 8 to 10 shows every year. The same year, he also appeared in Ron Howard’s directorial debut, ‘Eat My Dust!’ In 1986, he guest-starred on Lucille Ball’s show, ‘Life with Lucy.’
Madden began working as a voice-over artist in 1985. He lent his voice to ‘Flintstones Vitamins’ for 8 to 9 years. From 1988 to 2008, he worked on the radio show ‘Adventures of Odyssey.’ Initially, he provided various voices for this show, but in 1990, he began voicing ‘Bernard Walton.’ He voiced the character in 97 episodes.
He was also part of the TV movie ‘More Wild Wild West’ (1980), ‘The Ben Stiller Show,’ and ‘Sabrina the Teenage Witch’ (1998).
Family & Personal Life
Madden got married to Alvena Louise (Nena) Arnold in1975, at the age of 43. They had two children: their adopted daughter, Selena, and their son, Peter Michael. They divorced in 1985.
On May 28, 1998, he married his college date, Sandra Martin. They were together till his death.
On January 16, 2014, Madden died of multiple organ failure caused due to myelodysplastic syndrome, at a hospice care center in Jacksonville, Florida. After cremation, his ashes were dispersed in the Atlantic Ocean.