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Friday, December 18, 2009

The "8 is Enough" kids: where are they now?

Five of TV's Eight is Enough kids struggled with substance abuse, two suffered mental breakdowns, one is fighting ovarian cancer and one paid the ultimate price in the years after their show’s demise in 1981. Here are updates on all eight:

Grant Goodeve (David), 57, is an actor, musician and host of the Seattle-based series Northwest Backwoods. A recovering alcoholic, he found God and sobriety in 2001. Goodeve enjoyed a stint from 1990-92 on the hit drama Northern Exposure. He currently stars in a radio-play version of It's a Wonderful Life in Seattle and will appear in the upcoming film Crimes of the Past.

Lani O’Grady (Mary), suffered anxiety attacks while on the show. She died of a prescription drug overdose at age 46 in 2001. "I have a real hard time with people who have been successful in this business as young children . . . and [as adults] they are no longer wanted by Hollywood—and, yeah, Hollywood is not a user-friendly place," she told an interviewer in 1994. "But rather than accepting responsibility for their life, it's easier to say, 'The business is the reason I'm so messed up today.' I hate that."

Dianne Kay (Nancy), 55, is a mom who quit acting in 1999 after a guest appearance on Dick Van Dyke's hit series Diagnosis Murder. She lives in California. According to Internet reports, during a 1998 appearance on Jenny Jones' talk show, Kay said she dabbled in interior design and antiques. Also that year, she played the role of a waitress in the feature film Falling Sky.

Connie Newton-Needham (Elizabeth), 50, was diagnosed this year with ovarian cancer. The ballet dancer and mom of two is on leave from her work as a dance instructor in Santa Margarita, Calif. According to the National Enquirer, she's found emotional support in her cancer battle from co-stars Goodeve, Dick Van Patten and Willie Aames. In 1995, she played a waitress in the "Gladiators" episode of Ellen.

Susan Richardson (Susan), 57, became a cocaine addict in a desperate effort to drop 90 lb. she had gained while pregnant during the show's fourth season. A tailbone injury later led to a morphine addiction. In the late 1980s, she claimed filmmakers in Korea held her hostage and tried to kill her. She suffered a nervous breakdown in 1999. In recent years, she has enjoyed healthier times while working as a retirement home caretaker in Pennsylvania.

Adam Rich (Nicholas), 41, seems to have put years of drug problems and run-ins with the law (including a 2003 DUI) behind him. In 1996, he participated in a Might magazine cover story spoofing his death. In 2003, he played himself in the feature film Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star. Adam also has taught classes to young actors at the prestigious Beverly Hills Sound Stage. He lives in Santa Monica.

Willie Aames (Tommy), 49, went from Charles in Charge co-star and cocaine user in the '80s to born-again Bibleman in the '90s and celebreality TV staple in recent years. In 2008, he filed for bankruptcy, separated from his wife (with whom he co-authored the book Grace is Enough) and attempted suicide. In March 2009, he sold the contents of his home to avoid a foreclosure. The VH1 special Broke & Famous: Willie Aames chronicled his troubles last month. He's now working to become a licensed financial adviser.

Laurie Walters (Joannie), 62, and her husband, John Slade, live in Ojai, Calif., where they run the Ironweed Film Club. She continues to act and direct. Her vast stage resumé includes recent roles in Sylvia, Fools, Children of a Lesser God and Memory of Water. She landed major roles in Month in the Country, Measure for Measure, Undiscovered Country and Richard III at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. And she won the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for her role in Playboy of the Western World.  


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How can you leave out Dr. Maxwell??? ( Mike Thoma )