Former teen idol star David Cassidy said that reports that former "Partridge Family" cast members feuded with each other when the show was in production were false.

"I think that I used the people on the set as my family. I was very close to Shirley and to Susan and to Dave," he said.And he completely rejects the notion that there is any rivalry between himself and Bonaduce. After all, it was Cassidy who persuaded Bonaduce to work up a stand-up comedy act and open for him after one of the younger man's infamous arrests a few years ago.

"He has credited me (with reviving his career). And I don't say this because I'm boasting about it, but I love the guy. And I'm friends with him," Cassidy said. "And I will always have a great love for him. I understand who he is.

Not that Cassidy always approves of what Bonaduce is.

"He's done some really cheap stunts in his life. That's a personal need that he has," Cassidy said. "I've tried to say to him, 'You don't need to do that, Danny. You don't need to go on and box Donny Osmond because of Howard Stern. You don't need to drop your pants on television. You don't need to do cheap stunts.' He is very funny. Unfortunately, he can't resist. And whatever his need for attention is, it's gotten him into a lot of trouble. But it's also been the thing that has kept him in the public eye.

"But, again, I love him. And I'll love all of it forever because we shared something quite extraordinary together."

He's still in contact with Jones, his one-time stepmother, and recently spent some time with Madden -- who played band manager Reuben Kinkaid in "The Partridge Family" -- when his former co-star visited Las Vegas and attended a showing of "The Rat Pack is Back."

"I had a great night with him and his wife and his son," Cassidy said. "It was really great to see him again."

One person he hasn't had any contact with is Susan Dey, who reportedly is angry because he revealed in his autobiography that they once spent the night together.

"I haven't spoken to her since we did the MTV Awards together eight, nine years ago," Cassidy said. He did write her a conciliatory letter a few years back.

"I never heard a response, and I don't know why. Neither has Shirley, neither has Danny, neither has any of them," he said. And he's troubled by the fact that she refuses to participate in anything that has anything to do with "The Partridge Family." (Reportedly, she turned VH1 down flat when the cable channel asked for an interview for a "Partridge" documentary it's doing.)

"I really feel badly that Susan Dey, for whatever her own personal reasons, can't embrace the fact that she was 16, 17 years old, and millions of people loved her for that," he said. "You don't have to prove that you're so serious. We know you're serious. In life, be thankful. I don't know, just be gracious enough to acknowledge it to the rest of the world. Not to me or Shirley or Dave Madden or Danny, but to all of the fans and people who loved her and loved the show."

He acknowledged that he has been criticized for not wanting to do a "Partridge Family" reunion show of any kind.

"Forgive me, I just don't want to mess with what it is," he said. "I think anytime you do that, after a minute-and-a-half or two minutes, you've got people looking at you going, 'Gee, you know, he doesn't look as good as he did 25 years ago.' And, more than that, the only reason you'd want to do it is for money. And I've been fortunate enough to say I don't want to work for money. Of course, it's important. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't important, but it's not the reason that I go to work. It's not the reason that I write or I produce or anything else."

THAT OTHER MOVIE: "The David Cassidy Story" is the second TV movie this season to look back at "The Partridge Family." ABC aired "C'mon Get Happy" -- which portrayed Cassidy as rather petulant, difficult and whiny -- back on Halloween. Not that he saw the telefilm.

"I made no effort to watch it. As a matter of fact, I would have made an effort not to see it because it would have tainted my own feelings about all of those people. About that network. And about my own experience with it," Cassidy said. "My brother Shaun called me and said, 'I could only watch about a half an hour.' He said it was so incredibly bad. He said it was embarrassing.

"Hearing that makes me sad. Because, again, to go back and to look at it, and to have had the legacy that this show had and that we all -- Susan Dey and myself and Shirley and Danny -- have all come out of it and had careers afterward, it seems so sad to go and do something that's so cheap and unnecessary."

According to Cassidy, that other movie had been shelved by ABC 31/2 years ago and was only dragged out of mothballs when NBC announced his movie.

"It was done totally as a commercial network ratings attempt to steal the thunder from NBC. I think they felt that had the legitimacy of having Danny Bonaduce be a part of it," he said.

And he's not particularly surprised that the ABC movie wasn't exactly kind to him. He used his veto power to turn down their request to use original Partridge Family recordings. Still, he wasn't happy with the way he heard he was portrayed in "C'mon Get Happy."

"Maybe that was Danny's take. I don't think so, though," Cassidy said. "I mean, I was the only person who called Danny Bonaduce when he got busted about seven, eight years ago and offered him a job when he was in jail. So I don't think Danny would ever take that stand. Maybe it was the network trying to diminish me knowing that NBC was doing a movie. I don't know.

"I think he was embarrassed about it because he knew what ABC's intention was and he knew why they did it."

PLAYING DAVID CASSIDY: Cassidy admits he wasn't really aware of Andrew Kavovit before the 26-year-old actor was cast to play him in the TV movie -- casting that Cassidy himself approved -- but he's now one of his biggest fans.

"He's a great, wonderful guy. I spent quite a bit of time hanging out with him," he said.

And there are even some similarities in their backgrounds. Both grew up in and around New York City, and both experienced fame at a young age. (Kavovit won an Emmy for his role on the soap opera, "As the World Turns," when he was still a teenager.)

"He spoke to me about how, even though it was nowhere near the degree I had experienced it, he understood what the fame thing was like," Cassidy said. "He'd had a little glimpse of that."

What the real Cassidy and the faux Cassidy don't share is a musical background.

"He had never picked up a guitar. He is not a musical guy," Cassidy said. "But his bravery in going forward and trying to do something that we now think of as kind of legendary, whether it was or it wasn't . . . I think he showed great bravery as an actor."

Particularly in concert scenes that required Kavovit to look as if he was actually singing and playing the guitar.

"I can't quite define how difficult that might be for anybody, but imagine being placed at the Great Western Forum in front of 600 people screaming your name -- or screaming the character's name -- and knowing that that guy was actually there. I can only imagine his anxiety," Cassidy said.

And, while Kavovit affected the long hair and costumes Cassidy wore, he isn't exactly a double in either looks or build.

"I thought he made me look good," Cassidy said with a laugh. "I only wish David Cassidy could have a body like that."