Dick Van Patten, ‘Eight Is Enough’ and ‘Love Boat’ Actor, Dead at 86

Venerable character actor had career dating back 60 years

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Dick Van Patten, who delighted fans with comic turns on shows like “The Love Boat” and “Eight Is Enough,” has passed away at the age of 86.

“He was the kindest man you could ever meet in life. A loving family man. They don’t make them like him anymore,” Van Patten’s publicist Jeff Ballard told TheWrap.

Van Patten began his career on the stage, appearing in numerous Broadway shows beginning in the 1930’s. He broke into television with his role as Nels on the show “Mama” in 1949.

Perhaps Van Patten’s best known role came in 1977 when he landed the part of patriarch Tom Bradford on the family sitcom “Eight Is Enough.” Van Patten would reprise the role in the 1987 TV movie “Eight Is Enough: A Family Reunion” and in 1989’s “An Eight Is Enough Wedding.”

He also guest starred numerous time on the popular TV show “The Love Boat,” in addition to appearing in the follow up series “Love Boat: The Next Wave.”

Van Patten also collaborated several times with comedy legend Mel Brooks. He first appeared in Brooks’ 1977 send up of Alfred Hitchcock movies “High Anxiety.” The two would work together again on 1987’s “Spaceballs” and 1993’s “Robin Hood: Men in Tights.”

Most recently, he appeared in episodes of the cult comedy “Arrested Development,” as well as guest starred on “The Sarah Silverman Program” and “Hot in Cleveland.”

He is survived by his wife Pat, whom he married in 1954. The couple have three sons, actors Nels Van Patten, James Van Patten and Vincent Van Patten. He is also survived by his sister, actress Joyce Van Patten, and a half-brother, director-producer Timothy Van Patten.