I represent the first generation who, when we were born, the television was now a permanent fixture in our homes. When I was born people had breakfast with Barbara Walters, dinner with Walter Cronkite, and slept with Johnny Carson.
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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 and movies with the role of Nels Hansen in the 1949 TV series Mama, which ran from 1949 to 1957, and as patriarch Tom Bradford on Eight Is Enough, 1977 to 1981.
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.
Van Patten played a role in the 2009 film Opposite Day as Jack Benson.
An animal enthusiast, Van Patten co-founded Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance Pet Foods in 1989. 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.
Good Night Mr. Van Patten Stay Tuned Tony Figueroa