Van Patten 1987Dick Van Patten, best known as the loving father on the '70s sitcom "Eight Is Enough," has died at the age of 86. People reported that Van Patten passed away this morning in a Santa Monica hospital from complications due to diabetes.

Van Patten was born in 1928 in Kew Gardens, Queens, and got an early start in acting, making his Broadway debut at the age of 7. After performing in a dozen other plays, he moved to Hollywood to make movies and TV shows. Van Patten starred in "Mama" from 1949-1957, then played patriarch Tom Bradford on "Eight Is Enough" from 1971-1981. He also appeared in episodes of "The Love Boat," "Sanford and Son," "Happy Days," "Arrested Development," and "Hot in Cleveland," as well as several Mel Brooks movies, including "Spaceballs" and "Robin Hood: Men in Tights."

Van Patten was also an ardent dog lover who promoted canine causes. He founded National Guide Dog Month in 2008 and co-founded the company Natural Balance Pet Foods.

He is survived by his wife of more than 60 years, Patricia, and their three sons (all actors): Vincent, Nels, and Jimmy.


categories Movies