Betty Buckley Comments on Passing of ‘Eight is Enough’ Co-Star Dick Van Patten: ‘He Taught Me So Much’

By Caryn Robbins

Broadway World

June 23, 2015

As BWW reported earlier today, Dick Van Patten, best known as TV patriarch Tom Bradford on the hit 1980s series Eight Is Enough, has passed away at the age of 86. The actor died Tuesday morning, June 22nd, at Saint John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, California, due to complications from diabetes. He is survived by his wife Patricia Van Patten and three sons.

Today, Betty Buckley, who co-starred with Van Patten as his fictional wife Abby Bradford on EIGHT IS ENOUGH, shared her thoughts with BWW on the passing of her friend and colleague:

I am deeply saddened to hear about Dick Van Patten passing away. I am grateful that I got to see him and his lovely wife Pat when I was in Los Angeles in late January. He taught me so much when I worked with him on “Eight Is Enough”. He was our rock, our leader, our role model. He was the consummate professional, a wonderful actor and master of comedy. Every day on set he was a happy, jovial person, always generous and ready to play, tease and always keep us all laughing. His love for life and his family were an inspiration. I loved him very much. I send my deepest condolences to his family.

Van Patten made his Broadway debut at the age of 7 in Tapestry in Gray. He went on to appear in nearly 30 more Broadway shows. He first appeared on TV as Nels Hansen in I Remember Mama, which ran from 1949 to 1957.

Additional TV appearances included roles on The New Dick Van Dyke Show, Happy Days, The Love Boat and, more recently, Arrested Development, That ’70s Show and Hot in Cleveland.

Van Patten also appeared in several Disney films, along with three films directed by Mel Brooks, High Anxiety, Spaceballs and Robin Hood: Men in Tights. In 2009, he wrote the autobiography, Eighty Is Not Enough, and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Among his Broadway credits were Thieves (1974) But, Seriously… (1969), Lovers and Other Strangers (1968), Have I Got a Girl for You! (1963), O Mistress Mine (1946), The Wind is Ninety (1945), Too Hot for Maneuvers (1945), The Skin of Our Teeth (1942), The Lady Who Came to Stay (1941), The American Way (1939), On Borrowed Time (1938), The Eternal Road (1937)