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Danny BonaduceFame & Fortune: Danny Bonaduce

Former child star bounces between failure and success

Danny Bonaduce's latest path to success would be unusual in any arena except reality TV.

After finding fame as the precocious Danny Partridge on the hit '70s show "The Partridge Family," Bonaduce's adult life was less blessed, including bouts of alcoholism and homelessness. But in between his "tabloidy" travails, he managed to carve out a career as a successful talk-radio disc jockey.

So when TV's VH1 launched "Breaking Bonaduce," it was supposed to merely chronicle the life of the show biz wild man and his wife of 16 years, Gretchen, whom he famously married seven hours after meeting her. But the show's first season documented something no one expected -- a complete and total mental breakdown for Bonaduce that even included a suicide attempt. Now, the show's second season follows the couple as Gretchen and a clean and sober Danny plod through the chaos and try to get their lives back on track.

Bankrate spoke to Bonaduce about his odd and fascinating career.

Bankrate: On the first episode of the new season, you said that you hadn't seen the show, and that you're embarrassed by your behavior on it. So why continue?

Danny Bonaduce: Money. That's the sole answer. And here's where I went wrong. I was the biggest hit that VH1 ever had (at the time), but there was not a hiring frenzy after it was over. I did some real damage. It's funny, because I made a fortune (on the radio) touting my terrible reputation, and I don't know how it's possible that this show hurt my reputation. I still don't have my morning radio job back, and this is surprising, because I always thought radio was the brave one.

Bankrate: Is there really no reason but money that you're willing to do this, no exhibitionist side or to cry out for help?

Danny Bonaduce: No, but I'll tell you where my wife and I (differ). My wife kept saying, "We're going to help people. People have these problems and nobody talks about them, and we're really going to help people." I said, "No, we're not. We're just going to look ridiculous." But my wife was right. People really seem to have gotten some help out of it. But that was never my intention. It never occurred to me I'd be helping my fellow man. Everybody pats me on the back, telling me how brave I am, and how much I've done for their family. But I'm in television. So I put on the best television show I could, and I wasn't thinking about your family when I did it.

Bankrate: Is there going to be a season three?

Danny Bonaduce: There can't possibly be a season three of "Breaking Bonaduce" the way it has been, because ... I can't give away the ending, but the show has -- and this was my doing completely -- wrought such havoc on my family that I wouldn't be willing to do it again. The company that produced this show, 3 Ball Entertainment, has already purchased a new reality show of mine that could, in fact, be a third season, with maybe a name change so people wouldn't be misled. But as likely as not, if VH1 says no, this isn't for us, we'll go to another network.

Bankrate: Can you tell me what it is?

Danny Bonaduce: I can't. But I want to make this clear. I have all this TV going on, but I want my radio job back. That's what I really do. I tell stories.

 
 
Next: "Dude, I make a lot of money in radio"
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