Actor Dick Van Patten, founder of Natural Balance Pet Foods, died June 23, 2015, at age 86.
Van Patten had been ill for a long time, according to his agent. He died in a Santa Monica, California, USA, hospital.
The actor was likely best known for his role as the father on the 1970s television series “Eight Is Enough.” According to Internet Movie Database, he was credited in 153 movies and TV shows, the most recent being an episode of “Hot In Cleveland” in 2011.
As an animal enthusiast, he co-founded Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance Pet Foods, a subsidiary of Big Heart Pet Brands, in 1989. He also founded National Guide Dog Month, which began in 2008 to raise awareness and money for nonprofit guide dog schools in the US accredited by the International Guide Dog Federation.
Reports say Natural Balance was started when Van Patten was a guest on John Davidson’s show. After having lunch with the show’s band’s drummer, who also was an animal lover, the two came up with an idea to make a health food for dogs. Another friend of Van Patten’s told him the best quality pet food should have no fillers, wheat, corn, soy or byproducts.
"My partner and I started Natural Balance Pet Foods in 1989 with the intention of developing the finest, healthiest pet food on the market,” Van Patten is quoted as saying. “We wanted a pet food based on sound scientific principles and truth, not marketing hype. We did it! Not only for dogs and cats, but for large carnivores, such as lions, tigers, polar bears, and wolves in zoos and animal reserves worldwide!"
The Natural Balance brand includes a line of zoological products formulated specifically for carnivores in zoos and wild animal parks and not sold to the general public.