Dick Van Patten
|Dick Van Patten|
Dick Van Patten in April 2010
|Born||Richard Vincent Van Patten
December 9, 1928
Queens, New York City, New York, U.S.
|Died||June 23, 2015
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
|Cause of death||Complications from diabetes|
|Spouse(s)||Pat van Patten (m. 1954–2015)|
Richard Vincent "Dick" Van Patten (December 9, 1928 – June 23, 2015) was an American actor, businessman, and animal welfare advocate, best known for his role as patriarch Tom Bradford on the ABC television comedy-drama Eight Is Enough.
He began work as a child actor and was successful on the New York stage, appearing in more than a dozen plays as a teenager. He later starred in numerous television roles including the long running CBS television series, I Remember Mama and Young Dr. Malone. Later, he would star or co-star in many feature films including Mel Brooks' Robin Hood: Men in Tights and Spaceballs, Charlton Heston's Soylent Green and the Academy Award–winning Charly. Van Patten was the founder of Natural Balance Pet Foods and National Guide Dog Month. He also has been a promoter for Thermal-Gard windows.
Van Patten was born in the Kew Gardens section of the New York City borough of Queens, the son of Josephine Rose (née Acerno), who worked in advertising, and Richard Byron Van Patten, an interior decorator. His mother was of Italian descent, while his father had Dutch and English ancestry. He began work as a model and actor as a child making his Broadway debut at the age of seven. He was successful on the New York stage, appearing in a dozen theatrical plays before reaching his teen years. He later moved to Hollywood and began a lengthy career in film and television.
Van Patten's career in show business began as a child actor on Broadway in 1935 in Tapestry In Gray starring Melvyn Douglas. He was billed as Dickie Van Patten and went on to appear in twelve other Broadway plays as a teenager. He moved on to television with the role of Nels Hansen in the CBS series, Mama, about a Norwegian-American family living in San Francisco, California, in the early 20th century. It ran from 1949 to 1957. He was the family patriarch Tom Bradford on Eight Is Enough, which aired from 1977 to 1981 with a ten-to-eleven member cast and was loosely based on a book of the same name by the American journalist Thomas Braden.
Van Patten also appeared in episodes of Sanford and Son, Banacek, Arrested Development, The Brian Keith Show, Cannon, The Streets of San Francisco, Adam-12, Emergency!, and Happy Days. In 1999 and 2000, he costarred with Hugh O'Brian, Richard Roundtree, Deborah Winters, and Richard Anderson in the Warren Chaney miniseries Y2K – World in Crisis.
Van Patten had numerous leading roles in motion pictures including Joe Kidd, The Snowball Express and The Santa Trap. He played the supporting role of Usher #1 alongside Charlton Heston and Edward G. Robinson in the film Soylent Green (1973).
He appeared in several films directed by Mel Brooks, including High Anxiety, Spaceballs, and Robin Hood: Men in Tights, as well as cameos in the music videos for "Smells Like Nirvana" and "Bedrock Anthem" by "Weird Al" Yankovic, and on The Weird Al Show. Van Patten played the role of Jack Benson in Opposite Day (2009), his last film.
He also was a commentator for the World Series of Poker from 1993 to 1995.
The Hollywood Walk of Fame honored Van Patten November 20, 1985, with a Star of Television marker at 1541 North Vine Street. On January 12, 2008, Van Patten received a star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars.
On November 1, 2009, Phoenix Books published Eighty Is Not Enough!, a book co-authored by Van Patten and Robert Baer in which Van Patten shares an 80-year journey of insights and anecdotes through the entertainment industry. He discusses his journey from his humble beginning in Queens, New York; his rise as a childhood star on Broadway during the Great Depression; working as an actor on the radio; the advent of television and his role in the second-ever live situation comedy Mama; a rough period between acting gigs; a rise back to the top that led the TV icon to the lead role on the popular hit show Eight Is Enough and subsequent roles in television and movies.
An animal enthusiast, Van Patten co-founded Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance Pet Foods in 1989. Van Patten's creation of his own brand of dog food was satirized in comedian John Hodgman’s 2008 book: “More Information Than You Require,” and was re-branded as Dick Van Patten’s Hobo Chili for Dogs.  He founded National Guide Dog Month which began in 2008 to raise awareness and money for non-profit guide dog schools in the United States accredited by the International Guide Dog Federation.
Patriarch of a famous Hollywood family, Van Patten was the older brother of actress Joyce Van Patten, the older half-brother of film director and Emmy award winning television director/producer Tim Van Patten. He was married to Patricia Poole (aka Pat Van Patten) from 1954 until he died. She was a professional dancer on Broadway and a June Taylor Dancer on The Jackie Gleason Show where the couple met. They lived in Sherman Oaks, California.
Dick Van Patten was related to several other actors through marriages. His sister Joyce married actor Martin Balsam; their daughter is actress Talia Balsam. Talia's first husband was actor George Clooney, and she is now married to Mad Men actor John Slattery. Van Patten's son Vince is married to Days of Our Lives and The Young and the Restless actress and The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills regular Eileen Davidson.
Illness and death
Willie Aames, who played son Tommy Bradford on Eight Is Enough, called his television father "truly a gem [who] will be missed. ... As Dick always said, 'Remember our times together, gang ... Cause these ARE the good ole' days". Betty Buckley, Van Patten's co-star on the series, recalled, "Every day on the set he was a happy, jovial person, always generous and ready to play, tease, and always keep us all laughing. He was the consummate professional, a wonderful actor, master of comedy, and a kind and generous human being."
He is interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park.
|1958||Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer||Paul Sterovsky|
|1961–1962||Young Doctor Malone||Larry Renfrew|
|1970||The Governor & J.J.||Bertrum Bannister|
|1970||I Dream Of Jeannie||Grocery store manager||Season 5, Episode 26; "My Master, the Chili King"; Air date: May 26, 1970; series finale|
|1970||That Girl||Mr. Morse|
|1970||Arnie||Walter Granscog / Walker|
|1971||Confessions of a Top Crime Buster||Sgt. Nelson Higgenbottom||TV movie|
|1971–1972||The Partners||Sgt. Nelson Higgenbottom|
|1971–1972||The Doris Day Show||April's Father|
|1971–1973||Love, American Style||Segments: "Love and the Tattoo", "Love and the Parent's Sake" (George), "Love and the Particular Girl" (Jack)|
|1972||Sanford and Son||Hamlin|
|1972||The Don Rickles Show||David|
|1972||Hec Ramsey||Earl Enright|
|1972||The Crooked Hearts||Edward, the desk clerk||TV movie|
|1972–1973||The Paul Lynde Show||Dr. Willis / Wollner|
|1972–1974||The New Dick Van Dyke Show||Max Mathias / Mr. Compton|
|1972–1975||Medical Center||Dr. Feldman / Dr. Whittaker / Man at Hotel|
|1972–1976||Emergency!||Carter Merkle / Morris Meers|
|1972–1976||The Streets of San Francisco||Thurman Barber / John Collins|
|1973||McMillan & Wife||Henry|
|1973||The Brian Keith Show||Jerry Mason|
|1973||Thicker than Water||John|
|1973||Adam's Rib||Commissioner Hoyt|
|1973||Wait Till Your Father Gets Home|
|1973–1975||The Rookies||Fullmer / Waldon|
|1974||The Girl with Something Extra||Morgan|
|1974||Young Love||April's Father||TV movie|
|1974||Ernie, Madge and Artie||TV movie|
|1974||Kolchak: The Night Stalker||Alfred Brindle|
|1974–1976||Barnaby Jones||Melvin Pearson / Merle Overton|
|1975||Hot l Baltimore||A.J. Horn|
|1975||Grandpa Max||Mr. Unger||TV movie|
|1975||Ladies of the Corridor||Mr. Humphries||TV movie|
|1975||When Things Were Rotten||Friar Tuck|
|1975–1976||The Six Million Dollar Man||Harry Green / Palmer|
|1976||Ellery Queen||Billy Geeter|
|1976||Ace||Mr. Mason||TV movie|
|1976||Charo and the Sergeant||Chaplain||TV movie|
|1976||The Love Boat||O'Neil, the Doctor||TV movie|
|1976||The New Adventures of Wonder Woman||Jack Wood|
|1976||What's Happening!!||Mr. Claxton|
|1976||The Tony Randall Show||Myron C. Dobbs|
|1976–1977||Happy Days||Asst. Principal Marvin Conners / Hunsberger|
|1977||One Day at a Time||Frank|
|1977–1981||Eight Is Enough||Tom Bradford|
|1978||With This Ring||Alvin Andrews||TV movie|
|1978–1984||The Love Boat||Charlie Dillinger / Congressman John Whitcomb / George Hayes|
|1979||Diary of a Teenage Hitchhiker||Herb Thurston||TV movie|
|1982||High Powder||Tom Reed||TV movie|
|1983||Too Close for Comfort||Arthur|
|1983||The Fairest of Them All||Host||TV movie|
|1983–1985||Hotel||Frasier Pratt / Herbert Pitts|
|1984||The Hoboken Chicken Emergency||Mayor||TV movie|
|1984||Finder of Lost Loves||Alan Nettles|
|1984||The New Mike Hammer|
|1985||Crazy Like a Fox|
|1985||The Midnight Hour||Martin Grenville||TV movie|
|1986||Murder, She Wrote||District Atty. Fred Whittaker|
|1986||Picnic||Howard Bevans||TV movie|
|1987||The Facts of Life||Frank Stickle|
|1987||Eight Is Enough: A Family Reunion||Tom Bradford||TV movie|
|1987||Rags to Riches||Phil Johnson|
|1987||A Mouse, a Mystery and Me||Santa Claus||TV movie|
|1987||War of the Stars|
|1988||14 Going on 30||TV movie|
|1989||Growing Pains||Nick Simpson|
|1989||An Eight Is Enough Wedding||Tom Bradford||TV movie|
|1989||Jake Spanner, Private Eye||The Commodore||TV movie|
|1990||McGee and Me!||Graham|
|1993||The Golden Palace||Taylor|
|1993||The Odd Couple: Together Again||Roy||TV movie|
|1993||Diagnosis: Murder||Monty Emerson|
|1994||Baywatch||Henry / Sam|
|1994||Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman||Orphanage Worker / Santa|
|1995–1998||Touched by an Angel||Eb / Jerry|
|1996||Maybe This Time||Jack|
|1996||Boy Meets World||Amish Farmer|
|1997||The Weird Al Show||The Burglar|
|1998||The Love Boat: The Next Wave||Sid Glacken|
|1999||Family Guy||Tom Bradford|
|2002||Another Pretty Face||Levi Downs||TV movie|
|2002||The Santa Trap||Santa Claus||TV movie|
|2004||7th Heaven||James Rodgers, Sr.|
|2005||Arrested Development||Cal Cullen||Episodes: "Spring Breakout" and "Righteous Brothers"|
|2011||Hot in Cleveland||Lester|
|1963||Violent Midnight||Police Lt. Palmer|
|1967||The Secret Dream Models of Oliver Nibble||Oliver Nibble||Short film; as John Acerno|
|1968||Charly||Bert||as Richard Van Patten|
|1972||Beware! The Blob||Scoutmaster Adleman|
|1972||Joe Kidd||Hotel Manager|
|1972||Dirty Little Billy||Berle's customer|
|1972||Snowball Express||Mr. Carruthers|
|1973||Soylent Green||Usher #1|
|1975||The Strongest Man in the World||Harry|
|1976||Treasure of Matecumbe||The Gambler|
|1976||Freaky Friday||Harold Jennings|
|1976||The Shaggy D.A.||Raymond|
|1977||High Anxiety||Dr. Wentworth|
|1979||Nutcracker Fantasy||King Goodwin (voice)|
|1981||Lunch Wagon||Bernie Simmons (uncredited)|
|1988||The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking||Greg the Glue Man|
|1988||Going to the Chapel||Rick|
|1993||Robin Hood: Men in Tights||The Abbot|
|1994||Who Killed Skippy's Master?|
|1994||Guys & Dolls||Henry/Sam|
|1995||A Dangerous Place||Principal|
|1996||For Goodness Sake II||Game show host|
|1996||Love Is All There Is||Dr. Rodino|
|1998||Evasive Action||Parole Officer|
|1999||Angel on Abbey Street||Preacher|
|1999||Y2K – World in Crisis||Host||Documentary|
|2000||Big Brother Trouble||Captain Stacey|
|2000||The Road Ahead||Host||Documentary|
|2000||The Price of Air||Mr. Rye|
|2002||Groom Lake||Irv Barnett|
|2004||The Sure Hand of God||Jamie Denton|
|2004||Quiet Kill||Frank Rubin|
|2008||The Christmas Conspiracy||Narrator||Short|
|2009||Opposite Day||Jack Benson|
|2009||Sarah's Choice||Pastor Smith||Direct-to-video|
|2012||You'll Never Amount to Anything||Grandpa Beck||Pre-production|
- Van Patten, Dick; Robert Baer (2009). Eighty Is Not Enough!: One Actor's Journey Through American Entertainment. Beverly Hills, Calif.: Phoenix Books. ISBN 9781607477006. OCLC 432316649.
- Dick Van Patten at the Internet Movie Database
- Dick Van Patten Biography (1928-)
- Slotnik, Daniel E. (August 22, 2012). "Rosemary Rice, Oldest Daughter of TV's 'Mama,' Dies at 87". The New York Times. p. B8. Retrieved June 23, 2015.
- Internet Movie Database (World in Crisis) 
- Screened Reviews (Y2K: World in Crisis)
- LibraryThing Review 
- "Weird Al" Yankovic: Video Facts
- "Dick Van Patten". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Retrieved 1 August 2015.
- "Palm Springs Walk of Stars".
- "Palm Springs Life Magazine article, August 2010".
- International Guide Dog Federation
- Dagan, Carmel (June 23, 2015). "Dick Van Patten, Eight Is Enough and Love Boat Star, Dies at 86". Variety. Retrieved June 23, 2015.
- "Eight Is Enough" star dies at 86", Laredo Morning Times, June 24, 2015, p. 11A
- Palm Springs Walk of Stars by date dedicated
- Dick Van Patten at the Internet Movie Database
- Dick Van Patten at the Internet Broadway Database
- Dick Van Patten interview video at the Archive of American Television
- 2007 Interview in the Sherman Oaks Sun, page 16[dead link]
- Dick Van Patten; Aveleyman.com
- Dick Van Patten at Find a Grave