Adam Rich was just nine years old when he landed the role of a lifetime as Nicholas Bradford, the youngest son on Eight Is Enough. The show ran for five seasons, 1977-1981, and he won over the hearts of people around the world and even landed a spot on VH1's list of the greatest 100 kid stars, coming in at #73.
However, after a few more roles, including 1981's Code Red and 1983's Dungeons&Dragons, he opted to step back from Hollywood and maintain a lower profile. Unfortunately, on January 7, 2023, Rich, 54, was found dead in his Los Angeles area home. Here is what we know so far about his shocking death.
No Foul Play Is Suspected
TMZ was the first to report the news. According to the entertainment outlets, a family member revealed that he was found dead in his Los Angeles area home. They would not reveal the cause of death. A law enforcement agent told TMZ RHr his body was found "lifeless" by someone who went to his home. They also confirmed no foul play was involved. Case notes from the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner's office indicate that further investigation is needed to determine an official cause of death.
His Publicist Confirmed the Death
Danny Deraney, Mr. Rich's publicist also confirmed the death, describing his client as "kind, generous and a warrior in the fight against mental illness." He added: "He was unselfish and always looked out for those he cared about. Which is why many people who grew up with him feel a part of their childhood gone, and sad today. He really was America's Little Brother."
Rich Battled Substance Abuse Issues
Adam publicly battled substance abuse issues, and was arrested in 1991 after smashing a pharmacy window in an effort to obtain drugs. Dick Van Patten, his TV dad on Eight Is Enough, bailed him out.
His Eight Is Enough Brother Willie Aames Mourned His Death
Willie Aames, his Eight Is Enough costar, paid tribute to him on Facebook. "This morning [my wife] Winnie woke me with the heartbreaking news of Adam Rich's passing," he wrote. "I'm gutted. Adam was more than a colleague. He was very much my only little brother. A lifelong friend." He added that Adam was considering a return to Hollywood. "These last few years Adam had dreams of renewing his career. He was one of those kid actors that our generation will always remember." Aames, who played his brother on the show, also talked about his important role. "I can't tell you how many parents have told me they named their first child 'Nicolas' after his Eight Is Enough character. The diminishing fraternity of kids that grew up in the golden years of family television has lost another of our own. I will miss him deeply," he added. "Rest 'A.R.' You were the cutest TV kid of them all."
His Onscreen Stepmother, Betty Buckley, Also Paid Tribute
Betty Buckley, who played his stepmother on the show, also paid tribute. "Adam Rich was a light and my young pal for the four seasons I was blessed to work with him on 'Eight Is Enough'. I adored him and loved working with him in our scenes together on the show. He was so sweet, funny, fresh and natural. He brought a lot of joy to all of us on the show and to our audiences," she wrote on Instagram. "Adam and I have remained friends all of these years. His love and support have always meant a lot to me. I am shocked by the news I received this morning of his death. Sending my love and deepest condolences to his friends and family. In recent years Adam dedicated himself to providing inspiration for others with mental and emotional illness. I will miss him greatly."