Feb 19, 2020

The Van Patten Brothers

Speaking of show biz dynasties, Dick Van Patten's three sons and his younger brother all began appearing on screen at the same time in the late 1970s and early 1980s, producing a quadruple-threat of sandy-haired hunks.

Jimmy Van Patten, born in 1956, played a surfer in the beefcake-heavy Lifeguard (1976), and had guest spots on Gunsmoke, Three for the Road with his brother Vince, Happy Days, and Eight is Enough with his Dad.

Here he is displaying his assets in Roller Boogie (1979), standing next to androgynous romantic lead, Jim Bray.

 Jimmy also starred in the buddy-bonding Lunch Wagon (1981) with his brother Nels, and the actioner High Powder (1982) with Dick, Tim, Nels, and Ralph Macchio. Today he is a writer, director, and producer.

Vince Van Patten, born in 1957, began acting as a kid in 1970, and starred in the warm family comedy Apple's Way (1974-75), Three for the Road (1975) with up-and-coming teen idol Leif Garrett, and Rock and Roll High School (1979).

He hung out in his underwear in the homoerotic horror movie Hell Night (1981), and posed for Playgirl before becoming a professional tennis player and a semi-pro poker player. More recently, he produced and starred in The Break (1995), about a washed-up tennis pro who coaches a rookie (Ben Jorgensen).

Eldest brother Nels (born in 1955) starred mostly in his brothers' vehicles, but he can also be seen in Summer School (1987) with Mark Harmon and Grotesque (1988) with Tab Hunter.  And he appears as Farrah Fawcett's tennis instructor in the reality series Chasing Farrah (2005).

The youngest of the group, Tim Van Patten (born in 1959) is Dick's younger brother, so technically the uncle to Jimmy, Vince, and Nels.  He starred as a high school basketball player named Salami in The White Shadow (1978-81) and the actioner High Powder (1982). More recently he's had roles on St. Elsewhere and True Blue, and he's directed episodes of Sex and the City, The Sopranos, and Boardwalk Empire.

See also: Timothy Van Patten, Tony Danza, and Robert Wagner on a Cold Winter Night; Duke Van Patten


  1. Vince had so many roles as a young teen in the westerns/frontier TV series, showing off his very cute face, blonde hair, and, quite often, nice little butt. He fit in well with the other western/frontier boys on Little House, Father Murphy, Bonanza, etc.

  2. Man, those titles sound 70s without knowing what they're about. I mean, Roller Boogie?

    1. There was a short-lived fad for roller disco that produced a surprising number of tie-in movies, like "Xanadu"

    2. There was also Skatetown USA that was released around the same time. This was Patrick Swayze's film debut. Scott Baio, Greg Bradford, and Maureen McCormick also starred.

    3. I loved that movie! I was 13 and my friend and I wanted to move to Venice beach so badly and roller skate there!

  3. LOVE the movie 'Rock and Roll High School.' I almost got suspended for playing the Ramones' version during our high school morning announcements.

    I hate the teachers and the principal,
    Don't wanna be taught to be no FOOL!

    Rock-rock, rock-rock, rock-n-roll High school!

  4. Vince was a wet dream back in the 70s. But nowadays I just cannot stand his god-awful commentating on the Poker shows. But I guess he has to earn a living somehow.

  5. Vince was a very good looking Adonis
    Back in the day and blond and tan has can be...He was a very good Actor too..

  6. Vince appears in the August 1979 issue of Playgirl. Nothing seems to be posted on the internet from that spread that I can find, if indeed it is a spread at all. Some chat rooms and bloggers allude to a shirtless photo or two. The issue itself boasts bun shots, so perhaps he is one of those? The issue can be found for sale on auction sites, Amazon and a pdf digital version is also available, all priced around 30.00 which is a bit too rich for my blood. One of the highlights of his movie and TV career is his appearance opposite Farrah Fawcett on the show Apple's Way, "The First Love," Episode aired Oct 13, 1974. This episode has been available to watch on YouTube in the past. They share a bit of a romantic foray in the show and have an on screen kiss, which Van Patten is obviously more noticeably excited about than Fawcett as his fair skin and make-up cannot cancel his red blushing cheeks. I like Vinnie though and have enjoyed him in all of his performing endeavors including his stint on The Six Million Dollar Man, "The Bionic Boy," Episode aired Nov 7, 1976, which was suppose to be a spin off in its own right but failed to materialize. I believe that I will go to my grave without ever seeing him in the MTV, MTM produced, "Three For The Road" TV series (1975), in which he starred opposite Leif Garrett. I suppose that I should have caught it back in the day when I had the chance because they just aren't going to put it out there no matter how much the fans are kicking and screaming. To dish some dirt, in Idol Truth: A Memoir, the autobiographical book by Leif Garrett, Leif states that he went to his pal Vinnie for solace during a rough period with his then famous girlfriend, Nicollette Sheridan, in which he spent a sleepless night bearing his soul. Vince said little but Leif came to find out later that the two of them had been sleeping together at the time, which may be been the cause of romantic conundrum.


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