David Joseph “Dave” Madden (December 17, 1931 – January 16, 2014) was a Canadian-born American actor. His most famous role came in the 1970s sitcom The Partridge Family, in which he played the group’s manager, Reuben Kincaid, opposite Shirley Jones’s character. Madden later had a recurring role as diner customer Earl Hicks on the mid-1970s to mid-1980s sitcom, Alice.
Madden was born in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada to Verna (née Burleigh) and Roger Madden. He had three older siblings: Sister Mary Roger (1919–), a practicing nun at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods in Indiana; Richard (1921–?); and Jack (1926–1948). He spent his early childhood in Port Huron, Michigan, and in 1939, was sent to live with his aunt and uncle Bess and Frank Hoff, in Terre Haute, Indiana after his father’s death and his mother’s job keeping her on the road. At age 13, a serious bicycle accident left him immobilized. Madden spent months recuperating, a time during which he took an interest in magic. He later worked magic into his comedy act, which he performed around Terre Haute. He graduated in 1950 from Otter Creek High School, where he served as joke editor of the school paper, writing his own material. Madden spent one semester at Indiana State Teachers College, and in 1951 dropped out to enlist in the United States Air Force. Assigned to Special Services, he was sent to Tripoli, Libya, where he was a hit as an entertainer in camp shows and native theater, even performing before Idris of Libya, ruler at the time. After the Air Force, Madden attended the University of Miami, where he graduated with a degree in communications in 1959.
After two unsuccessful years on the Southern nightclub circuit, Madden traveled to Los Angeles, where a successful opening night at a Beverly Hills nightclub led to a 10-week retention, and a recommendation by patron Frank Sinatra to Ed Sullivan, who signed Madden for three nights on the Ed Sullivan Show. These appearances led to his first real acting engagement, a spot on Camp Runamuck, in 1965.
Madden first gained national notice as a milk-drinking, confetti-throwing sad sack on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In from 1968 to 1969. However, he became better known worldwide for his role as Reuben Kincaid, the harried manager/agent for The Partridge Family (1970–1974). Partridge co-star Danny Bonaduce, whom Madden took into his home during Bonaduce’s family’s domestic strife, has said that he owes a lot to Madden. In 1976 Dave appeared in Eat My Dust! It was the first movie developed by Ron Howard.
Dave Madden also made guest appearances on other TV series such as Bewitched, Happy Days, The Love Boat and Fantasy Island. He had a recurring role on Alice as one of the customers of Mel’s Diner and Tommy’s basketball coach Earl Hicks. His last guest appearance was on Sabrina, the Teenage Witch where he played Dr. Egglehoffer.
Madden began voicing several characters on Focus on the Family’s radio drama Adventures in Odyssey in the late 1980s. In 1990, he received his own regular character in the curmudgeonly window-washer Bernard Walton. In 1992, he reprised his role of Mr. Kincaid for a sketch on an episode of The Ben Stiller Show.
In 1995, Madden appeared on the sitcom Boy Meets World in the episode “Rave On”.
Madden married Nena Arnold in 1975, and together they adopted a daughter, Selena, and had a son, Peter Michael. They divorced in 1985. He later married former college sweetheart Sandy Martin, on May 28, 1998.
During his time on The Partridge Family Madden took an interest in photography, and began bringing his camera onto the set and photographing the cast, crew, and guest stars. It eventually developed into a lifelong hobby.
A long-time smoker, Madden quit after The Partridge Family episode titled “Each Dawn I Diet,” in which, ironically, Danny and Reuben make a bet that Reuben could abstain from smoking longer than Danny could from candy.
Madden stated in his memoirs that he did not get along with Shirley Jones’ husband Marty Ingels, and had a limited relationship with her as a result.
Madden befriended many fellow actors over his career, including Jonathan Winters, Alan Young, Pat Morita, Henry Gibson, Dan Rowan, Gregg “Opie” Hughes, Richard Gautier, Arte Johnson, James Karen, Anthony Cumia, and Gary Owens, as well as all of his “Partridge Family” co-stars and the show’s creator Bernard Slade. While in retirement, he wrote his memoirs, Reuben on Wry: The Memoirs of Dave Madden.
Madden died on January 16, 2014 in Jacksonville, Florida, where he was receiving hospice care; of complications of myelodysplastic syndrome. He was 82.
- December, 17, 1931
- January, 16, 2014
- United States