Dick Van Patton, best known as the patriarch on the late seventies sitcom Eight Is Enough, has passed away at the age of 86-years-old due to complications related to diabetes.
Van Patton got his start as a child actor on the Broadway stage before making the transition to movies and television. Even if you don't know him as the overburdened Tom Bradford in Eight Is Enough, you might recognize him from his prolific guest starring on shows like Happy Days and Arrested Development.
The comedy great went on to appear in many classic Mel Brooks films including High Anxiety, Spaceballs, and Robin Hood: Men in Tights. It's hard for me to imagine a world where King Roland is no longer breathing beautiful air, but at least Van Patten had a nice long life full of constant work and adoring friends, family, and fans.
Van Patten's publicist Jeff Ballard released a heartfelt statement confirming the sad news:
I am sorry to report this sad news. He was the kindest man you could ever meet in life. A loving family man. They don’t make them like him anymore.
No, they certainly don't.
In addition to his career as an actor, Van Patten was a lifelong animal lover who co-founded Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance Pet Foods in 1989. He continued this passion in 2008 when he established National Guide Dog Month, a celebration of the guide dogs and an effort to raise awareness about their helpful assistance.
Laughs were never far away when the always-positive Van Patten was onscreen, and he will certainly be missed.