The fascinating life of Dick Van Patten,
This review is from: Eighty Is Not Enough: One Actor's Journey Through American Entertainment (Hardcover)
Dick Van Patten is no stranger to television viewers, especially the fans of "Eight is enough" and "I Remember Mama." The author narrates his life story beautifully, sometimes very engaging and sometimes very poignant when he describes the last few days of his dying mother on her hospital bed. It is also very touching when he narrates the very last few minutes in the life of actress Diana Hyland who died in the arms her boyfriend John Travolta who was almost 20 years younger. Travolta was dressed in his famous three-piece white suit from the movie "Saturday Night Fever," recalls Dick Van Patten. In fact that was Diana Hyland's last wish. We also learn from this book that their love for each other was genuine, sincere and strong. The author observes that John Travolta was devastated by the loss of Diana Hyland.
Dick Van Patten is at ease when describes life of his son whose meteoric rise in the professional tennis circuit or his experiences in Africa when he was on a humanitarian mission. His career is not limited to TV; he was also known for his work in theater and Broadway shows. He worked as a child actor with such icons as; Melvyn Douglas, Tallulah Bankhead, Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne. He narrates his own experiences working with numerous actors, actresses, producers, directors, and writers in Hollywood. There is one thing that is conspicuous about him is that he is a family man who loved his parents, his wife, children, friends and his country. He discusses such topics as race in America, and the turning point in US history when a black man becomes the president, gender issues, and North-South economic disparities.
The author encounters struggles in life from a very young age as an actor, as a working young man, but he does not complain about lack of opportunities in Hollywood or lack of suitable roles that fit his talents and personality. He portrays his optimistic outlook even in the face of tragedy and misfortunes. When he is speaking his mind, you find him very human, and very touching in his narratives. Dick seems to have a passion, a mission in his life; to find beauty and warmth in life. In fact he is not too different from his role as a mild mannered-dad of his TV show "Eight is enough." He is a fine example for an outstanding soul that helps us to see the light in our lives and find happiness with it.
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