“Eight Is Enough” Star Dick Van Patten Dead at 86

One of America’s favorite TV dads, Dick Van Patten of “Eight is Enough” has passed away at the 86.

Dick Van Patten, died Tuesday in Santa Monica, California, of complications from diabetes at age 86.

Born in New York, the famous actor began his career as a model and child actor, making his Broadway debut in 1935 at the age of seven, billed as “Dickie Van Patten.” Van Patten appeared in 27 Broadway plays, including the comedy classic “Mister Roberts,” before he too part starting in 1940 in a seven-year run on one of TV’s earliest series, “Mama.” He played one of the sons of a Norwegian-American family in early 1900s San Francisco.

Van Patten’s is well known for his character Tom Bradford, a widower and father of eight who met and married Abby, played by Betty Buckley. The ABC comedy-drama aired from 1977-1981.

Van Patten also appeared on Sanford and Son, The Streets of San Francisco, Adam-12, Happy Days, The Love Boat, Touched By An Angel, Arrested Development andHot in Cleveland.

His film appearances included Spaceballs, High Anxiety, the original Freaky Friday, The Santa Trap and science fiction film Soylent Green.

An animal enthusiast, Van Patten co-founded Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance Pet Foods in 1989, and founded National Guide Dog Month, which began in 2008 to raise awareness and money for nonprofit guide dog schools in the United States.

In 2009, Phoenix Books published Eighty Is Not Enough, a book co-authored by Dick Van Patten and Robert Baer. In the book Van Patten shares an 80-year journey of insights and anecdotes about the entertainment industry.

He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Patricia Van Patten (a former June Taylor Dancer), and his three actor sons — Nels, Jimmy and Vincent.

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