The matriarch of an American family was the first reality TV mom


Patricia Loud, the matriarch of the Loud family in the television documentary An american family died Sunday of natural causes. She was 94 years old.

Pat Loud Dead American Family Matriarch

Patricia Loud, bottom right, in ‘An American Family’
Everett Collection

News of Loud’s death was confirmed on Loud’s official Facebook page. “With inconsolable grief, we are sad to share the news with our friends and family that on Sunday January 10 at 1:55 pm PT, Pat Loud passed away peacefully in her sleep of natural causes. She was snuggled up in her comfortable home, frequented by loving children Michele, Delilah, Kevin and Grant.

Loud was born October 4, 1926 in Eugene, Oregon. She graduated from Stanford University in 1948 where she studied world history and English literature. Back in her hometown, she met William Loud and they were going to get married in Mexico City. Their first son, Alanson “Lance” Russell Loud was born in June 1951.

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She and her family came into the limelight as one of the subjects of what is considered to be America’s first reality TV series. Shot from May 30 to December 31, 1971, An american family follows the daily life of the Loud family, an upper middle class family based in Santa Barbara. What started out as a look at Loud’s life turned into a series chronicling William and Pat Loud’s divorce.

Pat Loud Dead American Family Matriarch

Patricia Loud, seated right, in ‘An American Family’
Everett Collection

The documentary was a cultural hotspot in its day, featuring family turmoil and the outing of Lance, one of the sons of the family, who is considered one of the first openly gay television characters. He died in 2001 and William Loud died in 2018 at the age of 97.

An american family first broadcast in the United States on the Public Broadcasting Service and lasted a 12-episode season.

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During his feature film in the series, Loud has made appearances on The Dick Cavett Show and The Mike Douglas Show, because the PBS series had captured the attention of American viewers.

In 2011, Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini immersed themselves in the reality TV series with Truth cinema. Written by David Seltzer, Truth cinema introduced Diane Lane as the Matriarch, alongside Tim Robbin’s Bill Loud and James Gandolfini’s Craig Gilbert.

Truth cinema went on to collect several nominations for the Golden Globes and the Primetime Emmys. Diane Lane landed a nod for her portrayal of Patricia Loud.

In lieu of flowers, the family is grateful for any donation to be made on their behalf to The Rescue Train at

Read the Facebook post and watch the special Patricia Loud tribute video below.

Scott Shilstone contributed to this report.

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