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Eight Is Enough ran from March 1977 until August 1981 on ABC.
A comedy-drama from the producer's of The Waltons, Eight Is Enough was based on the autobiography of Washington Columnist Tom Braden. Set in Sacramento, the hour series focused on a family with eight very independent children, aged 8 to 23.
When the show began, the family's father, Tom Bradford ( Dick Van Patten), was a newspaper columnist for the Sacramento, California Register, and Joan ( Diana Hyland), was his wife of 25 years. Even Tom and Joan had trouble keeping track of all the kids and had to come up with the phrase " Never try eating nectorines since juice may dispense" to remember the names of Nicholas(5)( Adam Rich), Tommy (14) ( Willie Aames), Elizabeth (15) ( Connie Needham ( Newton)), Nancy ( 18) ( Dianne Kay), Susan ( 19) ( Susan Richardson), Joannie ( 20) ( Laurie Walters), Mary ( 21) ( Lani O'Grady, sister of My 3 Sons star Don Grady), and David ( 23) ( Grant Goodeve).Obviously such a large family didn't stay bored for long and in the pilot episode alone, David Moved out, young Nicholas got his tonsils removed, and Elizabeth was arrested for possession of narcotics. Sadly things changed when actress Diana Hyland suddenly died during production of the spring 1977 episodes. Hyland had only completed four episodes and was written out of the remaining season as being "away." When the series returned with new episodes that fall, Tom Bradford had become a widower - with the viewers finding out that his wife had died about "a year ago."
With the help of his best friend, Doc Maxwell ( Michael Thoma), Tom kept the whole family in check while re-entering the dating world. He soon found romance with a pretty school teacher named Abby( Betty Buckley), who came to the Bradford home to tutor one of the kids. Their romance blossomed, and, on a two-hour special broadcast on November 9, 1977, Tom and Abby were married.
As the series progressed, Abby got her Ph.D. in education and began counseling work at Memorial High. The Bradford kids all became involved with friends and romances, and, in a special episode in September 1979, David and Susan each got married. In a double wedding, David got married to attorney Janet ( Joan Prather), and Susan to pro baseball pitcher Merle "The Pearl" Stockwell( Brian Patrick Clarke), who later signed with the New York Mets. David then went to work for a construction firm, while Susan gave birth to the first Bradford grandchild - Sandra Sue, born in October 1980. Joannie got a job at a television station, and became engaged to Jeffrey Trout ( Nicholas Pryor).
A few more notes: In the pilot episode only Mark Hammill ( of Star Wars fame), played David; Kimberly Beck played Nancy; and Chris English played Tommy.
Most of the gang was reunited for Tom's 50th birthday in Eight Is Enough: A Family Reunion shown on October 18, 1987 on NBC. Van Patten and all 8 kids returned while Mary Frann ( Of Newhart), played Abby. The clan gathered again to celebrate eldest son David's second marriage on An Eight Is Enough Wedding telecast on October 15, 1989, on NBC. This time the honors of playing Abby went to Sandy Faison, and Merle was played by Dick Van Patten's son, James Van Patten.
To read Diana Hyland's obituary go to http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=XHkqAAAAIBAJ&sjid=jl0DAAAAIBAJ&dq=diana%20hyland&pg=6612%2C5686894
Here is Lani O'Grady's Obituary.
'Eight is Enough' actress Lani O'Grady dies at 46
Los Angeles Times
September 26, 2001
LOS ANGELES - Lani O'Grady, who played Mary, the strong, self-confident eldest daughter on the television series "Eight Is Enough," has died. She was 46.
O'Grady, a talent agent, was found dead Tuesday in her mobile home in Valencia, north of Los Angeles. Authorities say O'Grady apparently died of natural causes. The coroner's office said a post-mortem examination is pending.
O'Grady was the daughter of Mary Grady, one of Hollywood's top children's agents. Her brother was Don Grady, one of the original Mousketeers and a co-star of the 1960s TV comedy "My Three Sons."
It was while visiting her brother on the "My Three Sons" set when she was 6 that O'Grady began thinking of following in his footsteps.
In a 1994 interview with the Los Angeles Times, O'Grady recalled that when the show's star, Fred MacMurray, heard her naturally low voice, he turned around and said, "Who said that?"
She looked up at the towering MacMurray and said, "I did, sir." MacMurray responded by saying, "Boy, you ought to be in the business."
Aware of the emotional toll on child actors, Mary Grady never pushed her daughter into acting. But when Lani was 13, her mother finally gave in to her persistent requests to be sent on an audition.
After reading a two-line bit for "High Chaparral," she won the lead role in the episode. O'Grady never looked back, working constantly as a teen-ager.
Born Lanita Rose Agrati in Walnut Grove, she changed her name to Lani O'Grady after landing her role in "Eight Is Enough," a comedy-drama that starred Dick Van Patten as the newspaper columnist father of eight children. The series ran from 1977 to 1981.
In a 1994 Times interview, O'Grady said she had long suffered from severe panic attacks, which led to her abusing prescription drugs and alcohol for more than a decade .
Although fans were never aware of it, O'Grady said, the attacks caused her to run to her dressing room frequently to pop a Valium. She said she once shook so much during a scene that she had to be driven home.
Although she began experiencing panic attacks at 18, O'Grady said, she was not diagnosed with panic disorder until she was 21. Over the years, she said, she saw 32 doctors, most of whom prescribed various tranquilizers.
After the series ended, O'Grady said, she was in and out of five rehabilitation clinics.
The lowest point in her long struggle with panic attacks, she said, came in 1993, when agoraphobia kept her at home, and her body was so filled with toxins from abusing prescription drugs and alcohol that she was experiencing memory blackouts.
But in 1994, she began being treated with a non-narcotic medication for what was diagnosed as a brain chemical imbalance.
The treatment, she said at the time, made all the difference in the world.
"I have a life today," she said.
In December 1998, however, O'Grady checked herself into a Los Angeles hospital to detoxify from a prescription drug.
Although many child stars bitterly complain about the drawbacks of growing up in show business, O'Grady was not one of them.
"I have a real hard time with people who have been successful in this business as young children ... and (as adults) they are no longer wanted by Hollywood - and, yeah, Hollywood is not a user-friendly place," she said in 1994.
"But rather than accepting responsibility for their life, it's easier to say, 'The business is the reason I'm so messed up today.' I hate that."
Here is Dick Van Patten's Obituary
Eight is Enough' star Dick Van Patten dies at 86
Dick Van Patten ,the genial, round-faced comic actor who premiered on Broadway as a child, starred on television in its infancy and then, in middle age, found lasting fame as the patriarch on TV's "Eight is Enough," has died.
Van Patten died Tuesday in Santa Monica, California, of complications from diabetes, said his publicist, Jeffrey Ballard. He was 86.
Born in New York, the veteran entertainer began his career as a model and child actor, making his Broadway debut in 1935 at the age of seven, billed as "Dickie Van Patten." He would go on to appear in 27 other Broadway plays, acting alongside such giants as Melvyn Douglas, Tallulah Bankhead and, for three years, as the son of Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne in "O Mistress Mine."
In 1949, he began a seven-year run on one of TV's earliest series, the CBS comedy "Mama," playing one of the sons of a Norwegian-American family in early 1900s San Francisco.
Van Patten's greatest TV success was as Tom Bradford, a widower and father of eight who met and married Abby (played by Betty Buckley), with whom he set up a loving if chaotic household. The ABC comedy-drama aired from 1977-1981.
"Every day on set he was a happy, jovial person, always generous and ready to play, tease and always keep us all laughing," said Buckley. "He was the consummate professional, a wonderful actor, master of comedy, and a kind and generous human being."
"He was truly a gem and will be missed," tweeted Willie Aames, who, now 54, played the Bradford son Tommy on the series, which launched him as a teen heart-throb. "As Dick always said: Remember our time together gang... Cause these ARE the good ole' days."
Van Patten's many other TV appearances included "Sanford and Son," ''The Streets of San Francisco," ''Adam-12," ''Happy Days," ''The Love Boat," ''Touched By An Angel," ''Arrested Development" and, most recently, "Hot in Cleveland."
Film projects included "Spaceballs," ''High Anxiety," the original "Freaky Friday" (starring Jodie Foster), "The Santa Trap" and "Soylent Green."
Van Patten was a serious poker player and a commentator for the World Poker Tour. It was a natural offshoot for him as an actor trading on what he called the "bluff factor — as an actor, you thrive on that, to defy the odds," he said in a 2007 interview.
An animal enthusiast, he co-founded Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance Pet Foods in 1989 as well as founding National Guide Dog Month, which began in 2008 to raise awareness and money for nonprofit guide dog schools in the United States.
In a 2003 interview with The Associated Press, he explained that his love of animals was born while growing up in New York:
"If I was good each week, my father would take me to a different pet store each Saturday," he said. "I had a snake, horny toads, turtles, lizards, rabbits, guinea pigs. ... I kept my alligator in the bathtub until it got too big.
"We didn't take a bath for years," he joked.
He is survived by his three actor sons — Nels, Jimmy and Vincent — as well as Patricia Van Patten, his wife of 62 years (and a former June Taylor Dancer) whom he first met, and fell for, at age 14 when seated next to her in class at their professional children's school.
To read some articles about Eight is Enough go to http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=jRZhAAAAIBAJ&sjid=0lMNAAAAIBAJ&dq=eight%20is%20enough%20tv%20show&pg=4344%2C3076800 and http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=ca4_AAAAIBAJ&sjid=qVYMAAAAIBAJ&dq=eight%20is%20enough%20tv%20show&pg=3264%2C2387792 and http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=koMsAAAAIBAJ&sjid=tM0EAAAAIBAJ&dq=eight%20is%20enough%20tv%20show&pg=7018%2C2015923 and http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=xHRYAAAAIBAJ&sjid=3j0NAAAAIBAJ&dq=eight%20is%20enough%20tv%20show&pg=6551%2C909854 and http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=5hhCAAAAIBAJ&sjid=S6oMAAAAIBAJ&dq=eight%20is%20enough%20tv%20show&pg=1879%2C2006505 and http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=paArAAAAIBAJ&sjid=YvwFAAAAIBAJ&dq=dick%20van%20patten&pg=6987%2C4305346
To watch some clips from Eight is Enough go to http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=eight+is+enough&aq=f
For an episode guide go to http://ctva.biz/US/Drama/EightIsEnough.htm
For a page dedicated to Eight is Enough go to http://nostalgiacentral.com/television/tv-by-decade/tv-shows-1970s/eight-enough/
For Tim's TV Showcase go to https://web.archive.org/web/20110219040949/http://www.timstvshowcase.com/8enough.html
For an Article on Eight is Enough go to https://tv.avclub.com/eight-is-enough-jeremy-1798225254
For an Article on Eight is Enough go to https://www.thefix.com/eight-was-too-much-tragic-legacy-hit-sitcom
For some Eight is Enough-related interview videos at the Archive of American Television go to https://interviews.televisionacademy.com/shows/eight-enough
To watch the opening credits go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOtgG-VpXfo and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tincTKPfpw
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Keywords: Eight is Enough Cast (Links Updated 7/8/18)