'Eight is Enough' star Dick Van Patten dies at 86

NEW YORK — Dick Van Patten, the genial comic actor best known as the patriarch of TV's "Eight is Enough," has died, according to his publicist Daniel Bernstein.

No details on his death were immediately available. He was 86.

Born in New York, the veteran entertainer began his career as a child actor performing on the stage and on TV during its infancy.

But his greatest success was as Tom Bradford, a middle-aged widower and father of eight children who met and married Abby, played by Betty Buckley. The ABC comedy-drama aired from 1977-1981.

Van Patten's film roles included "Spaceballs," ''The Santa Trap" and "Soylent Green."

His many TV appearances included "Love, American Style," ''The Love Boat" and, most recently, "Hot in Cleveland."