Dick Van Patten started his career as a child actor on the New York stage. He later transitioned to television and film and enjoyed a successful sixty-year career in the entertainment business. Van Patten was born in Kew Gardens, New York, in 1937, getting his big break into show business at the age of seven in a Broadway production of The Eternal Road. For the next ten years, the child actor would appear in over twelve Broadway productions. Van Patten transitioned to television in 1949, becoming a cast member on the CBS comedy sitcom, Mama. The actor enjoyed an eight-year run on the series, and he stayed in television for most of his career, appearing on popular prime-time hits that include Sanford and Son, Cannon, Happy Days and The Streets of San Francisco. Van Patten's film debut came in 1963 when he played a police officer in the thriller, Violent Midnight. He soon followed up his debut playing the lead role in the 1972 film short, The Secret Dream Models of Oliver Nibble. The ABC network cast Van Patten in their popular prime-time drama, Eight is Enough, in 1977. The role made the actor well-known across America for the next four years. Van Patten has accumulated over 100 film, stage and TV credits in the entertainment industry.
Dick died June 23, 2015 from complications from diabetes. Survivors include wife Pat, to whom he was married since 1954; three sons, actors Nels Van Patten, James Van Patten and Vincent Van Patten; a sister, actress Joyce Van Patten; and a much younger half-brother, director-producer Timothy Van Patten.