Adam Rich, Who Played Nicholas Bradford On Eight Is Enough, Has Died At 54

Adam Rich, the actor best known for playing the youngest member of the "Eight is Enough" family, Nicholas Bradford, died in his home on Saturday 7 January, 2023, at the age of 54. A family member confirmed the news to TMZ.

Rich aspired to be an actor from a very young age, and appeared in dozens of commercials before landing the role of Nicholas Bradford at the age of eight. He starred in all five seasons of "Eight is Enough," an ABC comedy-drama series about a newspaper columnist with eight children, which was loosely based on Tom Braden's autobiographical book of the same name. Diana Hyland, who played Rich's TV mother, Joan Bradford, died from breast cancer in 1977, after filming just four episodes. Dick Van Patten, who played family patriarch Tom Bradford, died in 2015 due to complications with diabetes. Lani O'Grady, who played Mary Bradford, died in 2001 from multiple drug intoxication, after years of dealing with anxiety, panic attacks, and addiction.

Rich, too, struggled for decades with drug addiction and treatment resistant depression. He said in a November 2021 interview on the 'Bad' Brad Berkwitt Show that by 2018, "I had been on every antidepressant on the market." Rich's experiences motivated him to become a mental health advocate, arguing that psychological illness should be treated as seriously as cancer and other physical health conditions. "I feel like this disease may kill me," said Rich. "But I feel like if I'm going out, I want to go out fighting for somebody that may come behind me, so that it's not as bad [for them]."

Beyond Eight is Enough

Outside of his regular role in "Eight is Enough" and the many commercials he appeared in, Rich also had guest roles in TV shows like "CHiPs," "Fantasy Island," and "St Elsewhere," as well as a supporting role in the feature film "The Devil and Max Devlin," starring Bill Cosby and Elliot Gould. Rich walked away from acting in the early '90s, telling Brad Berkwitt, "I was just so burnt out, and I didn't like being famous at all, and I didn't like what was coming down the pipe, so I just quit." He eventually started going in for auditions again years later, but "then, at that point, no one was interested in having me on their show or giving me a job."

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Rich said, "I was already kind of in my own pandemic in a way, with my illness, and in a weird way everyone kind of adapted to the way I was already living ... So it took a lot of pressure off for me." In recent years he had found significant, long-term relief from his depression by participating in clinical trials of synthetic psilocybin.

Rich briefly returned to acting to play himself in a cameo role for the 2003 movie "Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star," alongside other child star actors like Dustin Diamond and Corey Feldman. Though he may now be counted among the long list of child actors who have suffered from addiction and mental health problems, in part due to the pressures of fame, he looked back on his time filming "Eight is Enough" fondly, telling Berkwitt: "It's nothing but good memories for me."