Danny Bonaduce 1959-2009, and Beyond … Probably

Partridge Family child star. Reality TV train wreck. And now, morning-radio host on WYSP. But through it all, Danny Bonaduce has really just had one role to play

THERE ARE A handful of recurring themes that crop up during the radio show Danny Bonaduce does every weekday morning on WYSP, and most of them have something to do with his depth of experience in having crappy and painful things happen to him. He has a considerable portfolio to draw upon, but still, he continually searches for new pain, to keep things fresh. It’s the mark of a true pro.

Ten days before his celebrity boxing match against retired baseball player Jose Canseco, Bonaduce is on the air at the WYSP studio in Old City. He’s reading aloud from a contract for the goofball fight — actually, a waiver stating over the course of several paragraphs that he might be maimed or die. “There’s only six things on this … and four of them say death,” he tells listeners before signing the release. A couple of days earlier, he’d found himself ranked number 63 on an Internet list of the 100 people most likely to die in 2009. “It is well researched, it is well written, and it seems like it has some air of accuracy to it,” he reasoned on the air. “When I see that I am number 63, my final thought is I’m just not trying hard enough.”

Bonaduce’s voice is a croak dragged over gravel that’s a cross between standard FM radio jock and Marge Simpson’s sisters Patty and Selma. He stands in front of the microphone (he doesn’t sit during the four-hour show) in a too-small designer t-shirt, snug on a muscled upper body that he has been torturing into shape for two decades, occasionally with the help of steroids. His skin, where there are no tattoos, is red and worn, and around his neck has the texture of an NBA basketball. He wears a goatee and biker boots with three-inch heels. (He stands five-six-and-a-half barefoot.) The back pockets of his slim jeans are hand-
decorated with rhinestone BeDazzlers; a wallet chain loops out from one of them. Hanging on a thin chain around his neck is a human tooth — he knocked it from the mouth of a guy named Johnny Fairplay, a former Survivor contestant who bizarrely jumped on Bonaduce during a 2007 TV awards show. (Bonaduce flipped Fairplay face-first onto the stage; an ensuing lawsuit was dropped.)

On the fingers of his left hand are three enormous silver rings, one of them a raging skull. On Bonaduce’s left wrist is a two-inch-wide black leather watchband. It covers a scar and the tattooed name of a former radio-show sponsor. The watch bears an image of the Virgin Mary, the same picture that’s on his apple-size belt buckle. Yes, Bonaduce looks like a New Hope shopping spree.