There’s always something reassuring in discovering that a Classic TV family that we watched week after week — through all their highs and lows — truly bonded behind the scenes as well. That’s certainly obvious with the actors from Eight Is Enough, which ran on ABC from 1977 until 1981, many of whom got together in support of their onscreen mom, actress Betty Buckley, for her starring role in the national touring company of Hello Dolly!.
Gathered together at the Pantages Theatre for Hello Dolly!’s Los Angeles premiere on Wednesday, Januar 30 were (from left to right in the image below), James Van Patten — the real-life son of the series’ star, the late Dick Van Patten), Connie Needham, Dianne Kay, Laurie Walters and Adam Rich. And, obviously, Betty, who played their stepmother, Abby Bradford, was genuinely touched by their support and reportedly waved at them in acknowledgment throughout the show.
Eight Is Enough is based on the book of the same name by Thomas Braden, a syndicated newspaper columnist who raised eight children in real life. IMDb nicely sums up the show this way: The sometimes-comic, sometimes-dramatic exploits of the Bradford family, father Tom (a columnist for a Sacramento, California newspaper), mother Joan and their eight children: Mary, David, Joanie, Nancy, Elizabeth, Susan, Tommy and Nicholas. After Joan’s death, Tom met teacher Abby, and they were married to make the family feel complete again. The kids all had friends and relationships as well, turning the Bradford Bunch into a free-for-all of loved ones and family members.” Betty joined the show in Season 2 following the real-life death of Diana Hyland on March 27, 1977. There was also a pair of spin-off TV movies, Eight Is Enough: A Family Reunion (1987) and An Eight is Enough Wedding (1989).
Scroll down to see the Eight Is Enough cast then and now!