Actor Dick Van Patten, best known for his role as the patriarch on the TV show Eight is Enough, has died at the age of 86.
Van Patten died Tuesday morning at Saint John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, California, due to complications from diabetes, The Associated Press reports.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. He Is Survived by His Wife of 60 Years & 3 Sons
Van Patten is survived by his wife, Pat, who he was married to for more than 60 years. They have three sons, Vincent, Nels and Jimmy, who all followed in their fathers footsteps and are actors.
He is the older brother of actress Joyce Van Patten, and the older half-brother of director Timothy Van Patten.
2. He Starred as Patriarch Tom Bradford on Eight is Enough
Van Patten had his greatest success as a TV actor as Tom Bradford on the comedy-drama Eight is Enough. He played the father of eight children, who was a re-married widower. The show aired on ABC from 1977 to 1981.
He also had roles as a character actor on The Love Boat, Sanford and Son, The Streets of San Francisco, Adam 12, Happy Days, Touched by an Angel and more recently, Arrested Development and Hot in Cleveland.
3. He Started His Acting Career on Broadway
According to The Associated Press, Van Patten, a New York native, started his acting career as a child actor on Broadway, where he was billed as Dickie Van Patten.
He made his Broadway debut in 1935 when he was 7, and went on to appear in 27 other plays.
4. He Suffered From Diabetes for Several Years
Van Patten had Type 2 diabetes and battled the disease for several years. He was hospitalized in 2006 after having a diabetic stroke, but made a full recovery.
5. He Was an Animal Enthusiast & Founded National Guide Dog Month
Van Patten was an animal enthusiast and founded Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance Pet Foods in 1989, according to The Associated Press. He also founded National Guide Dog Month in 2008 to raise awareness and month for guide dog schools.
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