Dick Van Patten
Dick Van Patten
Van Patten in May 2008
Richard Vincent Van Patten
(1928-12-09)December 9, 1928
Queens, New York, U.S.
|Died||June 23, 2015(2015-06-23) (aged 86)
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills|
|Occupation||Actor, businessman, animal welfare advocate|
( m. 1954; his death 2015)
|Children||3, including Vincent|
Richard Vincent Van Patten (December 9, 1928 – June 23, 2015) was an American actor, businessman, and animal welfare advocate, whose career spans 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, I Remember 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 Charlton Heston's 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 Queens, New York, the son of Richard Byron Van Patten, an interior decorator, and Josephine Rose (née Acerno), who worked in advertising. 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. 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, in the early 20th century. It ran from 1949 to 1957. He played the role of Friar Tuck on “When Things Were Rotten”, a comic take on Robin Hood, which also starred Dick Gautheir, Bernie Kopell and Misty Rowe. 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 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, and the older half-brother of film director and Emmy award-winning television director/producer Tim Van Patten. He was married to Patricia Poole (also known as 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. 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.
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."
|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|
|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|
|1976||The Shaggy D.A.||Raymond|
|1976||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|
|1988||Going to the Chapel||Rick|
|1989||Dirty Tennis||Himself||Short film written by his son James|
|1993||Robin Hood: Men in Tights||The Abbot|
|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|
|2003||Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star||Himself|
|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|
|1958||The Silent Service||Hadley||Episode Title "Tiger Shark". Executive Officer of the subject submarine.|
|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||Cannon||George Abel||2x18 Murder for Murder|
|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||High Anxiety||Dr. Philip Wentworth|
|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||Burke's Law||Dr. Paul Hampton|
|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|
|2003||Life with Bonnie||Himself||Episode: It's a Wonderful Job|
|2004||7th Heaven||James Rodgers, Sr.|
|2005||Arrested Development||Cal Cullen||Episodes: "Spring Breakout" and "Righteous Brothers"|
|2011||Hot in Cleveland||Lester|
- Van Patten, Dick; Baer, Robert (2009). Eighty Is Not Enough!: One Actor's Journey Through American Entertainment. Beverly Hills, Calif.: Phoenix Books. ISBN 978-1607477006.
- Dunning, John (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old Time Radio. Oxford University Press. p. 212. ISBN 978-0195076783.
(within Cast section) Dickie Van Patten as Finnegan's kid brother Wilfred.
- "Dick Van Patten Biography (1928-)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 2017-04-20.
- 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.
- "Video Facts". Weird Al" Yankovic. Archived from the original on November 10, 2006.
- "Dick Van Patten". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Retrieved 1 August 2015.
- "Dick Van Patten to be Honored with Star on Palm Springs Walk of Stars". PR Newswire. 9 January 2008. [dead link]
- Kleinschmidt, Janice (August 2010). "A Man of Passion". Palm Springs Life. ISSN 0031-0425.
- Ulaby, Neda (18 November 2008). "Comic John Hodgman Shares 'More Information'". Book Tour.
- Dagan, Carmel (23 June 2015). "Dick Van Patten, 'Eight Is Enough' Star, Dies at 86". Variety. ISSN 0042-2738.
- Jamieson, Wendell (23 June 2015). "Dick Van Patten, Harried Father on 'Eight Is Enough,' Dies at 86". The New York Times. p. B10.
- "Palm Springs Walk of Stars by date dedicated" (PDF). Archived from the original on 2012-10-13. Retrieved 2017-04-20.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)