Adam Rich, best known for his role as Nicholas Bradford in the 1970s TV drama “Eight is Enough,” died Saturday at 54 years old, according to the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner.
A family member of Rich told TMZ the actor died at his home in Los Angeles, where law enforcement told sources the former child actor was found lifeless by an unidentified person who arrived at the residence.
According to authorities, an official cause of death has not been revealed, but there is no foul play suspected.
NBC News reported Rich’s spokesman, Danny Deraney, described the actor as a “wonderful guy” who was “really America’s little brother.”
“He was kind, generous and a warrior in the fight against mental illness,” Deraney said. “He was so unselfish and always looked out for those he cared about. Which is why many people who grew up with him feel really sad today.”
Rich rose to fame in the 1970s while portraying Nicholas, the youngest son, on “Eight is Enough,” which ran on ABC from 1977-1981.
Dick Van Patten, who also starred in the TV drama as Rich’s father, said of his former co-star in a 2011 interview that Rich was the reason “why the show was a big success.”
“People loved him!” Van Patten said, according to Page Six. “[Fans] named a child Nicholas and everything because of him. He was cute, and he was a good actor. He was very natural.”
Rich would go on to land smaller roles in other television shows and assorted movies throughout the late 1970s and 1980s, which include “Fantasy Island,” “CHiPs,” “Small Wonder,” and credit as a voice actor on the animated series “Dungeons & Dragons.”
Before taking a ten-year hiatus from the screen and spotlight, Rich was last credited on an episode of “Baywatch” in 1993.
He re-emerged in 2003 to portray himself in the 2003 David Spade comedy “Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star.”
In the same year, he starred as Crocodile Dundee in the TV series “Reel Comedy.’’
According to TMZ, Rich reportedly struggled with substance abuse, which resulted in a 1991 arrest for breaking a pharmacy window to obtain drugs.
Van Patten later bailed him out.
Page Six noted that Rich spent the following years in and out of rehab.
Authorities arrested Rich again in 2002 on DUI charges after nearly hitting a California Highway Patrol vehicle.
Rich denied the charges to CBS News, telling reporters, “I’ve been sober for ten years.”