It isn’t often that reel life is reflective of real life, but it’s a great feeling when it is. And that’s certainly true of Eight is Enough, which offered up the adventures of the Bradford family from 1977 to 1981 on ABC. Week after week, we went along with them on all their highs and lows, the drama and the laughs.
It’s reassuring to know that the cast truly did bond behind the scenes as well. That certainly became obvious a few years ago when many of them got together in support of their onscreen mom, actress Betty Buckley, for her starring role in Hello Dolly!‘s national touring company.
Gathered together at the Pantages Theatre for Hello Dolly!‘s Los Angeles premiere 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. Betty, who played their stepmother, Abby Bradford, was obviously genuinely touched by their support and reportedly waved at them in acknowledgment throughout the show. It marked an incredibly rare appearance for the cast, most of whom have continued their acting careers after the series.
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 were also a pair of spinoff 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.
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