'Eight Is Enough' Dad Dick Van Patten Dies at 86

by Raphael Chestang 12:22 PM PDT, June 23, 2015
Playing 'Eight Is Enough' Dad Dick Van Patten Dies at 86

Actor Dick Van Patten, perhaps best known for his role as the patriarch of the Bradford family on the TV show Eight Is Enough, passed away early Tuesday morning. He was 86.

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"I am deeply saddened to hear about Dick Van Patten passing away," Patten's Eight Is Enough co-star Betty Buckley told ET. "I am grateful that I got to see him and his lovely wife Pat when I was in Los Angeles in late January. He taught me so much when I worked with him on Eight Is Enough. He was our rock, our leader, our role model. His vast career in theater, film and television was awe inspiring. He was the consummate professional, a wonderful actor, master of comedy and a kind and generous human being. Every day on set he was a happy, jovial person, always generous and ready to play, tease and always keep us all laughing."

Buckley added, "His love for life and his beautiful family were an inspiration. I loved him very much. I send my love and deepest condolences to his wife Pat, sons, Nels, Jimmy and Vincent, his sister Joyce and brother Tim."

Patten's passing followed complications from diabetes. In 2006, a year after his diagnosis, Patten found himself in the emergency room.

"I got what they called a diabetic stroke," Patten told ET at the time. "Here's what it is, my left hand and my left leg. You know when your leg falls asleep? It's like that constantly. It's not painful, but it's so annoying. My leg is all tingly and my arm is all tingly."

In addition to Eight Is Enough, Patten, a former child actor, was also featured on numerous TV shows including Happy Days, Naked City, I Dream of Jeannie, The New Dick Van Dyke Show and The Love Boat, as well as appearing in such movies as Spaceballs and Robin Hood: Men in Tights.

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ET last spoke to Patten at the gala reunion of The Love Boat in 2014.

"It was my favorite job," Patten told ET at the event. "I've been on so many shows but this was my favorite show of all of them. I mean that."

Patten is survived by his three sons Vincent, James and Nels, as well as his wife for 62 years, Patricia.

"The marriage comes before the career," Patten told ET in 2006. "The family's first and the career is second. I could get fired from a show. As long as everything's okay with my family, it really would not bother me."