Adam Rich Cops Plea

Erstwhile Eight Is Enough moppet enters no-contest plea to DUI charges, gets three years' probation

By Marcus Errico May 17, 2003 4:55 PMTags

Erstwhile Eight Is Enough moppet Adam Rich has managed to do enough to avoid some jail time.

The onetime kid star, now 34, copped a plea Friday to charges stemming from a December DUI arrest.

Rich, who played Nicholas, the littlest Bradford, on ABC's long-ago TV hit, pleaded no contest in a Pomona, California, courtroom to misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence and being under the influence of a controlled substance. Rich must serve three years' probation, finish a 60-day "after-care" program and pay $1,200 in fines, his lawyer, Stephen Sitkoff, tells Los Angeles' City News Service.

Sitkoff told the wire service that Rich entered the plea because he "wants to accept responsibility" for his actions.

Rich was rung up on DUI charges on December 18 after nearly rear-ending a California Highway Patrol car on a closed stretch of a Los Angeles-area freeway. A frequent police-blotter entry in the late 1980s and early 1990s for a string of drug-related arrests, Rich admitted to police that he was coming home from a rave. Aside from failing a field sobriety test, Rich also said he was on anti-depressant medication, according to the CHP.

But, like his lawyer says, Rich has been trying to make good. The Los Angeles District Attorney's Office says Rich completed a 30-day rehab stint following the arrest. He is already enrolled in the after-care program, his attorney says.

From 1977 to 1981, the floppy-haired Rich was the most recognizable, and just darn cutest, Bradford kid on ABC's Eight Is Enough. He reprised the role in two reunion movies, in 1987 and 1989.

From October 1990 to January 1992, Rich was variously accused of drunken driving, sock-stealing, breaking into a hospital in search of Demerol and throwing himself down a flight of stairs during rehab in order to score painkillers.

"I have a disease," Rich told a court in 1991. "Some people are saying it was a cry for help, and I guess that's right. I am very remorseful, very embarrassed."

As his lawyer tells City News Service, "He's grown up with people still thinking he's seven years old."

Unable to shake his Eight Is Enough image, Rich eventually turned to voiceover work and, according to his former TV dad, Dick Van Patten, had most recently been toiling in show biz as an assistant director.

Drug woes have also dogged some of Rich's fellow Bradford sibs. Willie Aames, middle son Tommy, battled cocaine until turning to religion and appearing as the devil-defying superhero Bibleman in a series of videos and live shows. In September 2001, Lani O'Grady, eldest daughter Mary, fatally OD'd on the painkiller Vicodin and the antidepressant Prozac.