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  • The Price of Air

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  • Charly

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Dick Van Patten Biography

  • Profession: Actor
  • Born: Dec 9, 1928
  • Died: Jan 1, 0001

Even in his seventh decade, actor Dick Van Patten has retained the cherubic, chipmunk-cheeked countenance of his child-star days. Born into a family of actors, Van Patten was seven when he made his Broadway bow, playing Melvyn Douglas' son in Tapestry in Gray; that same year, he first stepped before a radio microphone. He would ultimately appear in 27 Broadway productions, including Thornton Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth. His co-star in this endeavor was Tallulah Bankhead, who declared that "Dickie" was the only child actor she could tolerate because he could read The Racing Form. In 1941, Van Patten and his younger sister Joyce made their joint film debut in Reg'lar Fellers, repeating their roles from the radio version of the same property. He would not again appear in a film until 1968's Charly, by which time he had played eldest son Nels Hansen in the pioneering TV sitcom Mama had made a smooth transition to adult parts in the role of Mister Roberts' Ensign Pulver, and had co-starred in such New York stage presentations as The Tender Trap, Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? and Don't Drink the Water. An avid tennis player, Van Patten met producer/director Mel Brooks on the courts; their personal relationship blossomed into a professional one, with Van Patten playing Friar Tuck in Brooks' 1975 TV series When Things Were Rotten and appearing in several of Brooks' theatrical features. From 1977 through 1981, Van Patten starred as Tom Bradford on the TV "dramedy" Eight is Enough. His other series-TV assignments include The Partners (1971), The New Dick Van Dyke Show (1973-74 season) and WIOU (1990). In addition to his sibling relationship with Joyce Van Patten, Dick Van Patten is the half-brother Timothy Van Patten and the father of James and Vincent Van Patten--actors all. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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