Dick Van Patten
Richard Vincent Van Patten
December 9, 1928
New York City, U.S.
|Died||June 23, 2015 (aged 86)|
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills|
|Occupation(s)||Actor, comedian, businessman, animal welfare advocate|
Patricia Helon Poole
|Children||3, including Vincent|
|Relatives||Joyce Van Patten (sister)|
Tim Van Patten (half-brother)
Talia Balsam (niece)
Grace Van Patten (niece)
Richard Vincent Van Patten (December 9, 1928 – June 23, 2015) was an American actor, comedian, businessman, and animal welfare advocate, whose career spanned seven decades of television. He was best known for his role as patriarch Tom Bradford on the ABC television comedy-drama Eight Is Enough.
Van Patten 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 worked in radio, on Duffy's Tavern. He later starred in numerous television roles including the long-running CBS television series, "Mama" and Young Doctor Malone. Later, he would star or co-star in many feature films, including Charly, Mel Brooks's Robin Hood: Men in Tights and Spaceballs, and Soylent Green. Van Patten was the founder of Natural Balance Pet Foods and National Guide Dog Month.
Richard Vincent Van Patten was born on December 9, 1928, in the Kew Gardens section of the New York City borough of Queens, the elder child of Richard Byron Van Patten, an interior decorator, and Josephine Rose (née Acerno), who worked in advertising. His younger sister is actress Joyce Van Patten.
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 City 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 including The Skin of Our Teeth. He moved on to television with the role of Nels Hansen in the CBS series, Mama, starring Peggy Wood, about a Norwegian-American family living in San Francisco, in the early 20th century. It ran from 1949 to 1957. In 1949, James Dean, then an unknown, replaced Patten on the show for a time, when Patten was drafted into the Army. In 1975, he played "Friar Tuck" on When Things Were Rotten, a comic take on Robin Hood, created by Mel Brooks. The series ran for 13 episodes before being canceled. He was best known as the Bradford family patriarch, Tom Bradford, on Eight Is Enough, which aired from 1977 to 1981, and which was loosely based on a book of the same name by the American journalist Thomas Braden.
Van Patten appeared in episodes of Sanford and Son, Banacek, Arrested Development, The Brian Keith Show, Cannon, The Streets of San Francisco, Adam-12, Emergency!, Growing Pains, and Happy Days. He had numerous leading roles in motion pictures including Joe Kidd, The Snowball Express and The Santa Trap. He played a small role in the dystopian film Soylent Green (1973).
Van Patten 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. He played "Jack Benson" in Opposite Day (2009). He also was a commentator for the World Series of Poker from 1993 to 1995.
The Hollywood Walk of Fame honored Van Patten on 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 shared his 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 including spending time as a real estate agent in Queens, NY; 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.
Main articles: Natural Balance Pet Foods and National Guide Dog Month
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 rebranded 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. Van Patten also appeared as a television spokesman for Fisher-Price toys in the late 1980s.
Patriarch of a famous Hollywood family, Van Patten was the older brother of actress Joyce Van Patten, and the older half-brother of film director and Emmy award-winning television director/producer Tim Van Patten. He was married to Patricia Helon Poole (also known as Pat Poole and Pat Van Patten; born March 12, 1931) from 1954 until his death. Pat Poole was a professional dancer on Broadway and a June Taylor dancer on The Jackie Gleason Show. They lived in Sherman Oaks, California. They had three sons, all actors: Vincent, Nels, and Jimmy. Nels, who is married to actress Nancy Valen, is named for the character Van Patten played on the CBS's Mama. 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 actor John Slattery. Van Patten's son, Vince, is married to actress Eileen Davidson.
In January 2006, Van Patten was taken to Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after suffering a diabetic stroke. Van Patten, who suffered from Type 2 diabetes, made a full recovery. Van Patten died at Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California, on June 23, 2015, at age 86. Complications from diabetes were the listed cause.
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 in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles.
On November 20, 1985, Dick Van Patten was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2008, a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs, California, Walk of Stars was dedicated to him.
|1963||Violent Midnight||Police Lt. Palmer||Film debut|
|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|
|Joe Kidd||Hotel Manager|
|Dirty Little Billy||Berle's customer|
|Snowball Express||Mr. Carruthers|
|1973||Soylent Green||Usher #1|
|1974||Heidi in the Mountains||English version, Voice|
|1975||The Strongest Man in the World||V.P. Harry Crumply|
|1976||Treasure of Matecumbe||The Gambler|
|The Shaggy D.A.||Raymond|
|Freaky Friday||Harold Jennings|
|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|
|1989||Dirty Tennis||Himself||(short film written by his son, James Van Patten)|
|1993||Robin Hood: Men in Tights||The Abbot|
|1996||For Goodness Sake II||Game show host|
|Love Is All There Is||Dr. Rodino|
|1998||Evasive Action||Parole Officer|
|1999||Y2K – World in Crisis||Host||Documentary|
|2002||Groom Lake||Irv Barnett|
|2003||Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star||Himself|
|2004||Quiet Kill||Frank Rubin|
|2008||The Christmas Conspiracy||Narrator||Short|
|2009||Opposite Day||Jack Benson|
|Sarah's Choice||Pastor Smith||Direct-to-video|
|2016||Silver Skies||Himself||Released Posthumously|
|1958||The Silent Service||Hadley||Episode: "Tiger Shark". Executive Officer of the subject submarine.|
|Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer||Paul Sterovsky||Episode "The Broken Frame"|
|1959||Rawhide||Matt Reston||Episode "Incident of the Power and the Plow"|
|1961||Naked City||Carhop||Episode "The Well-Dressed Termite"|
|1961–1962||Young Doctor Malone||Larry Renfrew|
|1970||The Governor & J.J.||Bertram Bannister|
|I Dream Of Jeannie||Grocery store manager||Season 5, Episode 26; "My Master, the Chili King"; Air date: May 26, 1970; series finale|
|That Girl||Mr. Morse|
|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||Episode: "The Great Sanford Siege"|
|The Don Rickles Show||David|
|Hec Ramsey||Earl Enright|
|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|
|The Brian Keith Show||Jerry Mason|
|Cannon||George Abel||2x18 Murder for Murder|
|Thicker than Water||John|
|Adam's Rib||Commissioner Hoyt|
|Wait Till Your Father Gets Home|
|The Girl with Something Extra||Morgan|
|Kolchak: The Night Stalker||Alfred Brindle|
|Adam-12||Harry Curtis||Season 7, Episode 9; "Alcohol" Air date: December 10, 1974|
|1974–1976||Barnaby Jones||Melvin Pearson/Merle Overton|
|1975||Hot l Baltimore||A.J. Horn|
|When Things Were Rotten||Friar Tuck|
|1975–1976||The Six Million Dollar Man||Harry Green/Palmer|
|1976||Ellery Queen||Billy Geeter|
|The New Adventures of Wonder Woman||Jack Wood||Episode: "Beauty on Parade"|
|What's Happening!!||Mr. Claxton|
|The Tony Randall Show||Myron C. Dobbs|
|1976–1977||Happy Days||Asst. Principal Marvin Conners/Hunsberger|
|One Day at a Time||Frank|
|1977–1981||Eight Is Enough||Tom Bradford|
|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|
|1982||Andy Williams New England Christmas||Himself||TV special|
|1983–1985||Hotel||Frasier Pratt/Herbert Pitts|
|1984||The Hoboken Chicken Emergency||Mayor||TV movie|
|Finder of Lost Loves||Alan Nettles|
|The New Mike Hammer||Judge Charles Bamer|
|1985||Crazy Like a Fox|
|The Midnight Hour||Martin Grenville||TV movie|
|1986||Murder, She Wrote||District Atty. Fred Whittaker||Episode: "Murder in the Electric Cathedral"|
|1987||The Facts of Life||Frank Stickle||Episode: "Ex Marks the Spot"|
|Eight Is Enough: A Family Reunion||Tom Bradford||TV movie|
|Rags to Riches||Phil Johnson|
|1989||Growing Pains||Nick Simpson||Episode: "Fortunate Son"|
|An Eight Is Enough Wedding||Tom Bradford||TV movie|
|Jake Spanner, Private Eye||The Commodore||TV movie|
|1990||McGee and Me!||Graham|
|1993||The Golden Palace||Taylor|
|The Odd Couple: Together Again||Roy||TV movie|
|Diagnosis: Murder||Monty Emerson||Episode: "Murder at the Telethon"|
|1994||Burke's Law||Dr. Paul Hampton|
|Baywatch||Henry/Sam||Episode: "Guys and Dolls"|
|Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman||Orphanage Worker/Santa||Episode: "Season's Greedings"|
|1995||Cybill||Himself||Episode: “Nice Work If You Can Get It”|
|1995–1998||Touched by an Angel||Jerry/Eb||2 episodes|
|1996||Maybe This Time||Jack|
|Boy Meets World||Amish Farmer||Episode: "You Can Go Home Again"|
|1997||The Weird Al Show||The Burglar||Episode: "Al Gets Robbed"|
|1998||The Love Boat: The Next Wave||Sid Glacken|
|Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction||Chester||Segment: "The Chess Game"|
|1999||Family Guy||Tom Bradford (voice)||Episode: "Brian: Portrait of a Dog"|
|Late Night with Conan O'Brien||Mr. Ropely|
|2001||Gary & Mike||Ba (voice)|
|2003||Life with Bonnie||Himself||Episode: "It's a Wonderful Job"|
|2004||7th Heaven||James Rodgers, Sr.||Episode: "The Chess Game"|
|2005||Arrested Development||Cal Cullen||Episodes: "Spring Breakout" and "Righteous Brothers"|
|2006||That '70s Show||Murph||Episode: "Sweet Lady"|
|2009||The Sarah Silverman Program||Dr. Eddie Hackmeyer|
|2011||Hot in Cleveland||Lester||Episode: "The Chess Game" (last appearance)|
(within Cast section) Dickie Van Patten as Finnegan's kid brother Wilfred.
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