Actor Dick Van Patten, who played the father on the TV show Eight Is Enough, died today in Santa Monica, Calif., of complications from diabetes. He was 86.
The news was confirmed in a statement by his publicist Jeff Ballard.
Van Patten began his acting career at the age of 7, moving from roles on Broadway to television. He appeared in I Remember Mama, which ran from 1949 to 1957, as well as The New Dick Van Dyke Show. More recently, Van Patten appeared in Arrested Development and Hot in Cleveland. But it was the role of Tom Bradford on ABC’s Eight Is Enough, which ran from 1977 to 1981, for which Van Patten was most famous.
Van Patten was an animal-lover who co-founded Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance Pet Foods in 1989; he founded the National Guide Dog Month, which raises awareness and money for nonprofit guide dog schools.
Van Patten is survived by his wife of 62 years, Patricia Van Patten, as well as his three sons, Nels, Jimmy and Vincent.