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Eight Is Enough Cast Today: What Happened To Dick Van Patten, Diana Hyland, And Betty Buckley

‘Eight Is Enough’ was a popular family drama in the late ’70s. Here is what happened to the actors, including Dick Van Patten, Diana Hyland, and Betty Buckley, after the show ended.

The ABC comedy-drama ‘Eight Is Enough’ aired from 1977 to 1981. Decades later, we are curious about the Bradford family’s adventures and misadventures. Here, we take a look into the lives of three cast members – Dick Van Patten, Diana Hyland, and Betty Buckley – to explore their journeys post-show as of December 2023.

Dick Van Patten (Thomas ‘Tom’ Bradford Sr.)

Born in 1928, Dick Van Patten began his acting career at the age of seven. With over 167 acting credits, Van Patten was a familiar face in both TV and film. He gained particular acclaim for his comedic roles in Mel Brooks’ films and as King Roland in ‘Spaceballs.’

Beyond his on-screen presence, Van Patten was an avid animal rights advocate and co-founded Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance Pet Foods in 1989. In 2009, he and Robert Baer published a book titled ‘Eighty Is Not Enough!,‘ in which Van Patten shared his recollections about his 80-year journey in the entertainment industry.

The actor’s life, however, came to an end on June 23, 2015, in Santa Monica, California, at the age of 86, after complications with diabetes.

Diana Hyland (Joan Bradford)

Diana Hyland, a talented actress, graced the screens in award-winning shows like ‘The Twilight Zone’ and films such as ‘The Boy in the Plastic Bubble,’ for which she won an Emmy. Hyland’s role in ‘Eight Is Enough’ was short-lived; she appeared in only four episodes of the first season.

In a tragic turn of events, Hyland succumbed to breast cancer at the age of 41 on March 27, 1977. Before her passing, she was in a relationship with another actor, John Travolta. Her death impacted not only her fans and colleagues but also the show’s narrative, with her character’s passing being written into the storyline.

Betty Buckley (Abby Bradford)

Joining ‘Eight Is Enough’ in its second season, Betty Buckley, born in 1947, brought Abby Bradford to life. With a career spanning film, TV, and theater, Buckley earned accolades, including a Tony Award for her role in the musical ‘Cats.’ Her work in theater led to her receiving two Honorary Doctorates and a Texas Medal of Arts Award. More recently, Buckley’s acting credits include roles in the TV show ‘Supergirl,’ ‘Preacher,’ and the film ‘Split.’ As of now, she is part of the cast of ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’ with a recurring role and has an upcoming project named ‘Imaginary,’ which is in post-production.

The Rest of the ‘Eight Is Enough’ Cast

The legacy of ‘Eight Is Enough’ extends beyond its three stars. The rest of the Bradford family’s cast members followed their own paths in the years following the show’s conclusion.

Grant Goodeve (David Bradford) embarked on a steady acting career, appearing in TV shows like ‘Northern Exposure’ and ‘Twin Peaks.’ He also lent his voice to video games and animated features, with his latest role being in the 2021 film ‘Christmas in the Pines.’

Lani O’Grady (Mary Bradford) faced personal challenges post-show, eventually pursuing a career as a talent agent. Her life, unfortunately, ended prematurely in 2001 due to an overdose.

Laurie Walters (Joan ‘Joanie’ Bradford) shifted her focus to environmentalism after a stint in theater, later returning to acting and directing in Ojai, California.

Susan Richardson (Susan Bradford), after retiring from acting in 1991, faced serious health and financial difficulties, as per her 2013 interview with The Huffington Post.

Dianne Kay (Nancy Bradford), remembered for her role on ‘Starsky and Hutch,’ stepped away from the limelight after several minor TV roles, living a private life in Pacific Palisades.

Connie Newton/Needham (Elizabeth Bradford) transitioned from acting to being a dance instructor in Orange County, California. She overcame ovarian cancer and has since reverted to her maiden name, Connie Newton.

Willie Aames (Thomas ‘Tommy’ Bradford Jr.) continued his acting career, gaining recognition for roles in ‘Charles in Charge’ and as the superhero Bibleman. His life also included a period as a cruise director.

Adam Rich (Nicholas Bradford), the youngest Bradford, had a series of minor TV roles following the show. His life ended tragically on January 7, 2023, due to an accidental overdose.

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