From 1977 to 1981, ABC viewers tuned in to Eight Is Enough to watch the Bradford family navigate life with eight kids after losing their matriarch, Joan Wells Bradford. ​Adam Rich portrayed Nicholas Bradford, the youngest child of the bunch, and instantly became a star. Keep scrolling to find out what happened to the former child actor before his death at age 54. 

What Happened to Adam Rich After Playing Nicholas Bradford on ‘Eight Is Enough’? 

Over the course of five seasons, Rich won fans over with his adorable charm and signature pageboy haircut on the series. Prior to landing his role on the program at 9 years old, the actor snagged a few roles on television series like The Six Million Dollar Man and The Love Boat. He quickly became one of the most popular child actors on network television. 

Nicholas From 'Eight Is Enough': What Happened to Adam Rich?
Ralph Dominguez/MediaPunch/Shutterstock

While it seemed like his career was going to soar to new heights, the sitcom star faced several run-ins with the law. In 1991, Rich was arrested and charged with breaking into a Los Angeles pharmacy to steal painkillers. His Eight Is Enough costar Dick Van Patten bailed him out of jail. After pleading no contest to felony burglary and drug charges, he completed a drug rehabilitation program in 1992. 

He was arrested again in 2002 after driving onto a closed intersection of a California highway. The CHiPs alum was convicted of a DUI and being under the influence of a substance without a prescription. He pled no contest and was sentenced to three years of probation along with enrolling in a three-month alcohol and other drug education and counseling program.

What Did Adam Rich Act in After ‘Eight Is Enough’?

Aside from his time on the iconic comedy-drama series as a child, Rich appeared on Code Red, Dungeons & Dragons, St. Elsewhere and Small Wonder. He reprised his role of Nicholas in the 1987 television film Eight Is Enough: A Family Reunion and 1989’s An Eight Is Enough Wedding. He earned his last acting credit in 2003’s Reel Comedy television series, per IMDb

Nicholas From 'Eight Is Enough': What Happened to Adam Rich?

In January 2019, Rich made a rare red carpet appearance with his Eight Is Enough castmates Connie Needham, Dianne Kay and Laurie Walters at the opening night of Hello, Dolly! in Los Angeles. Dick’s son James Van Patten also attended the event in honor of his late father who died in 2015 at age 86 due to complications from diabetes.  

When Did Adam Rich Die?

For the most part, Rich continued to live his life away from the spotlight from the mid-2000s on. He stepped out for a few rare public outings in California after venturing away from acting. According to multiple reports, he was not married and did not have any children. 

Nicholas From 'Eight Is Enough': What Happened to Adam Rich?

On January 7, 2023, Rich’s death at age 54 was confirmed by publicist Danny Deraney in a statement shared on Twitter. 

“Adam was simply a wonderful guy,” Deraney wrote. “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.” 

What Was Adam Rich’s Cause of Death? 

In June 2023, the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Rich’s cause of death an accident from the effects of the drug fentanyl.

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).