SANTA MONICA—Actor, businessman, and animal welfare activist Dick Van Patten was pronounced dead during the morning hours on Tuesday, June 23 at St. Johns Hospital in Santa Monica. Van Patten, who was best known for his role on the sitcom “Eight is Enough,” made his show business debut on Broadway in 1935 at the age of 7.

Since then he’s been credited in over 150 roles in a film and a television career that spanned 66 years.

In 1989, he started Natural Balance Pet Foods with the intention of providing “the finest food you can buy for your pet.” His passion for animal welfare did not stop there though. In 2008, after being inspired by a visit to the campus of the Guide Dogs of the Desert in Palm Springs, he founded National Guide Dog month to raise awareness and support for guide dog schools across the United States.

In 2005, Van Patten was diagnosed with Type-II diabetes and a year later suffered a diabetic stroke, but made a full recovery. A representative of Van Patten told Entertainment Weekly that the cause of his death on Tuesday at 86 was complications due to diabetes.

Dick Van Patten, a Sherman Oaks resident since 1979 is survived by his wife of 60 years, Patricia Poole, and their three sons, Nels, Jimmy & Vincent.