At the age of 54, Adam Rich, a child actor best remembered for his portrayal of Nicholas Bradford in the 1970s television series "Eight Is Enough," passed away. A cause of death will be officially determined after an autopsy by the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner's Office, according to Rich's agent Danny Deraney, who shared the news on social media.
"Adam was simply a wonderful guy," Deraney tweeted. "He was kind, generous and a warrior in the fight against mental illness. Adam did not have an ounce of ego. He was unselfish and always looked out for those he cared about, which is why many people who grew up with him feel like part of their childhood gone, and sad today.
He really was America’s little brother."
Rich was just eight years old when he was cast as the youngest of the eight Bradford siblings on "Eight Is Enough," earning him the nickname "America's Little Brother." The show, which starred Dick Van Patten as the family patriarch, aired for five seasons and became a beloved classic.
Thank you all for reaching out regarding Adam Rich.
If you knew Adam, you just loved the guy. And oh the stories he could tell.
Here is my statement: pic.twitter.com/3OITGnESuf — Danny Deraney (@DannyDeraney) January 8, 2023
After the show's run ended, Rich continued to act in his teenage years with guest appearances on shows such as "CHiPs," "The Love Boat," and "Silver Spoons," as well as a pair of reunion specials for "Eight Is Enough." However, Rich's subsequent acting career did not reach the same level of success as "Eight Is Enough," and he faced personal struggles common among child actors of that era, including substance abuse and legal issues.
Rich had a close brush with death in 1989 when he nearly overdosed on Valium, and was arrested for breaking into a pharmacy in 1991. After retiring from acting in 1993 following an appearance on "Baywatch," Rich would occasionally resurface in reference to his past as a child actor, including participating in his own death hoax for a magazine article and appearing as himself in the comedy film "Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star." In recent years, Rich used his social media platform to advocate for mental health and embrace the legacy of "Eight Is Enough." In a video interview he posted to Instagram in 2021, Rich said, "I'm grateful for the joy felt while working on 'Eight'!.. I do hope it may have brought you some joy as well."