Vale: Dick Van Patten

US actor best known as the genial father figure on Eight is Enough, has died aged 86.


US actor Dick Van Patten, best known as the genial father figure on Eight is Enough, has died aged 86.

He died on Tuesday morning in Santa Monica due to complications from diabetes.

“He was the kindest man you could ever meet in life. A loving family man. They don’t make them like him anymore,” his publicist Jeff Ballard said in a statement.

Van Patten played Eight Is Enough‘s Tom Bradford for five seasons from 1977 to 1981, as the multitasking journalist and father to a clan of 8 kids, before several reunion telemovies.

“Before Eight Is Enough, there was Father Knows Best, all goody, goody, goody,” Van Patten recalled in a 2011 interview. “On Eight Is Enough, we dealt with real problems.”

Willie Aames, who played son Tommy Bradford described Van Patten as “the most sincere person I’d ever worked with.”

“I remember he’d tell us often before shooting a scene, he’d have that smile on the face — ‘I want you all to look around and remember this time. These are the good old days. These are great days. So enjoy them.’ He was the leader of our show.”

But he also enjoyed a seven-decade career across stage, radio, TV and films.

TV credits included I Remember Mama, The Partners, The New Dick Van Dyke Show, The Love Boat, The Rookies, Cannon, Banyon, Maude, Love, American Style, S.W.A.T., Happy Days, Barnaby Jones, McMillan and Wife, The Streets of San Francisco, Baywatch, When Things Were Rotten, Arrested Development, The Sarah Silverman Program, That 70’s Show and Hot in Cleveland.

Films included Mel Brooks and Disney titles, with credits including High Anxiety, Spaceballs, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Superdad, The Strongest Man in the World, The Shaggy D.A., Gus, Freaky Friday, Charly, Making It, Joe Kidd, Dirty Little Billy, Westworld, Soylent Green and Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star.

Van Patten was also father to actor Vincent Van Patten, half-brother to director Tim Van Patten and sister to actress Joyce Van Patten.

In 2004, Tom Bradford was named No. 33 in TV Guide’s list of the “50 Greatest Dads of All Time.”

Source: Hollywood Reporter

6 Responses

  1. My role models growing up were tv dads like Dick Van Patten’s ‘Tom Bradford’ and Robert Reed’s ‘Mike Brady’. Dick Van Patten was the sort of Dad I wanted but didn’t get. A loving, wise, funny and fallible man. The actor had a deft hand for both comedy and drama, and the 5 years of this show are a big part of my ‘Restless Years’. Such a great face too. He will be missed.

    1. Agree Dave, he was a lovely Dad in that show and a great role model. If I remember correctly he was a widower trying to raise 8 children. TV Fathers in those days were very sweet and innocent characters. My family and I loved Eight is Enough on Saturday Nights.

      1. Indeed he was, Tatiana, the storyline only developed with him as a widower, when actress Diana Hyland died of cancer during the first series and they chose to carry on and cast Betty Buckley as a would be love interest.

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