Veteran stage and screen actor Dick Van Patten, who played family patriarch Tom Bradford on the 1970s ABC series “Eight Is Enough,” has died. The Los Angeles Times reports that Van Patten died Monday morning at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, Calif., of complications from diabetes. He was 86.
He had a long career on television, while also finding success on film and on the stage. His film roles included “Soylent Green” and the Mel Brooks movies “High Anxiety” and “Spaceballs.”
“His greatest success came in television, where he was a series regular on cult hits such as ‘When Things Were Rotten.’ He also guest starred in many series of note, including ‘Rawhide,’ ‘Maude’ and ‘Arrested Development,'” the Times reports.
Even before his run on “Eight Is Enough” from 1977-1981, Van Patten was a familiar face on TV through his guest appearances on many shows, including “Emergency!,” “Barnaby Jones,” “The Streets of San Francisco,” “Medical Center” and “The Six Million Dollar Man.”
The Times report notes: “He made his Broadway debut at age 7, appearing in ‘Tapestry In Gray,’ starring Melvyn Douglas. He would go on to perform in 27 Broadway productions.”
In recent years, Van Patten has been a familiar face to many animal lovers through his role in founding a line of pet food — and through the appearance of his face on the bags. The Times notes: “In 1981, Van Patten was a guest on ‘The John Davidson Show’ when he struck up a conversation with the band’s drummer. Van Patten and Joey Herrick, both animal lovers, talked about the dearth of quality dog food. The pair later founded the Natural Balance pet food company.”
Here’s a clip with Van Patten discussing his “Eight Is Enough” character, Tom Bradford: