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Stage and Screen Legend Dick Van Patten Releases Memoir


Eighty is Not Enough, the first memoir by former Eight Is Enough star Dick Van Patten, is more than the autobiography of one actor - it is a look at 80 years of American entertainment history through the eyes of an actor who has experienced it all. Phoenix Books publishes in November.

Eighty Is Not Enough tells the entire story of Van Patten's family life: his mother's sacrifice for her kids' success in show business, to his parents' thorny divorce, and his sister's struggles with stardom. Readers learn of the fickleness of Hollywood that almost left Van Patten and his family penniless before his comeback in the hit show Eight Is Enough. From his rise back to the top to the fall of so many of his colleagues and friends, Eighty Is Not Enough features tales of struggle, laughter, sadness, and controversy-all with the optimism that guided the entertainment icon throughout his life.

The memoir includes inside stories from the 600 radio shows, 24 feature films, seven television series, and countless plays that kept Van Patten a busy actor throughout his life; a rare look at legends of the Great White Way including Tallulah Bankhead, Alfred Lunt, Lynn Fontanne, and Melvyn Douglas; insight into living next door to Michael Jackson and clan, the Van Pattens' close relationship with Farrah Fawcett, and his reaction to both stars' recent deaths; the story of how his love of horses and fondness of gambling that almost led to the loss of his family over one bad bet and how he subsequently transformed his love of animals into the creation of Natural Balance pet food; and the tale of his instinct to call Mel Brooks upon having a stroke, and how advancing age has not ended the star's will to live a long and happy life.

Dick Van Patten's first book ever offers readers a rare glimpse into the evolution of entertainment from a former child star who graced the Broadway stage at the age of 7, made a splash as a voice on hundreds of popular radio programs, and pioneered the television screen by starring in the second live sitcom, I Remember Mama.

Van Patten allows readers into his life, revealing the good and the bad of Hollywood and The Temptations and adulations for a star. He also discusses the changing landscape of America, including growing up during the Great Depression, the tragic recession the country is facing during his golden years,- the rise of President Barack Obama with a simple, television-inspired phrase: "Eight is Enough."

"It was always a joy to sit on the set while Dick regaled us with stories of his adventures in show business, horse racing and prize fighting," said Mel Brooks, who directed Van Patten in such hits as Spaceballs and Robin Hood: Men in Tights. "I remember saying to him, ‘Dickie, this is great stuff-you should write a book!' Well finally, he has."

"This memoir of Dick Van Patten's is both a theatrical and historical delight," said Carl Reiner. "It informs us of a talented child star's massive amount of brilliant performances, along with a social history of the 20th century. If you don't enjoy it, it's your fault."

Van Patten has partied with some of the greatest stars of yesteryear and today, and has discovered the true meaning of happiness in a family he calls his closest friends. Van Patten's story is one with heart and determination-offering the old adage that one should remember the past, look forward to the future, and live for today.

Van Patten is a twelve-time Broadway performer whose credits include: Thieves; But, Seriously; Lovers and Other Strangers; A Very Rich Woman; Have I Got A Girl For you; O Mistress Mine; The Wind is Ninety; Too Hot For Maneuvers; Decision; The Snark Was A Boojum; The Skin Of Our Teeth; The Land Is Bright; The Lady Who Came To Stay; The Woman Brown; The American Way; Run Sheep Run; and the Eternal Road.  Her screen credits include: Mama; Eight is Enough; Sanford and Son; Arrested Development; The BrIan Keith Show; Happy Days; High Anxiety; Spaceballs; and Robin Hood: Men in Tights. 

Phoenix Books, Inc. is one of the fastest growing, independent publishers in the country, embracing a new direction by acquiring works of non-fiction and fiction with significant social and literary importance. For more information, go to

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