Adam Rich, “Eight Is Enough” star, dies at 54

Adam Rich, “Eight Is Enough” child star, dies at 54


The effects of fentanyl are considered the cause of death for Adam Rich, the child actor known as “America’s little brother” for his role on the hit family dramedy “Eight is Enough.”

The former television star’s death this January has been ruled an accident by the Los Angeles County Medical-Examiner Coroner’s office, according to an autopsy report. Rich died in his Los Angeles home at age 54.

His stardom came at just eight years old as the mop-topped son raised by a widower newspaper columnist, played by Dick Van Patten, in ABC’s “Eight is Enough.” He went on to appear in other shows, including “Code Red” and “Dungeons & Dragons” in the 1980s. He also appeared in single episodes of popular shows like “Baywatch” and “The Love Boat,” and reprised his “Eight is Enough” role in two TV movie reunions. 

Adam Rich, here in 1978, starred as Nicholas in “Eight Is Enough.”

ABC Photo Archives/Disney General Entertainment Content/Getty Images

Rich had multiple run-ins with police related to drug and alcohol use. He was arrested in April 1991 for trying to break into a pharmacy and again that October for allegedly stealing a drug-filled syringe at a hospital while receiving treatment for a dislocated shoulder. A DUI arrest came in 2002 after he struck a parked California Highway Patrol cruiser in a closed freeway lane.

Rich had publicly discussed his experiences with depression and substance abuse in the months before he died. He tweeted in October that he had been sober for seven years after arrests, many rehab stints and several overdoses. He urged his followers to never give up. 

When Rich died in January, his publicist, Danny Deraney, said that he had suffered from a type of depression that resisted treatment. He had tried to erase the stigma of talking about mental illness, Deraney said, and sought experimental cures to treat his depression. 

“He was just a very kind, generous, loving soul,” Deraney said in a statement. “Being a famous actor is not necessarily what he wanted to be. … He had no ego, not an ounce of it.”


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