Dick Van Dyke
Richard Wayne Van Dyke
13 December 1925
West Plains, Missouri, USA
I'm really in retirement. My career is over. I'm just playing now and having a great time. I like to keep busy, and I'm doing what's fun for me.
Dick Van Dyke
Richard Wayne "Dick" Van Dyke (born December 13, 1925) is an American actor, comedian, writer, and producer with a career spanning six decades. He is arguably best known for his starring roles in the films Bye Bye Birdie, Mary Poppins, and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and the television series The Dick Van Dyke Show and Diagnosis: Murder.

During the late 1940s, Van Dyke was a radio DJ in Danville, Illinois. In 1947, Van Dyke was persuaded by Phil Erickson to form a comedy duo with him called "Eric and Van - the Merry Mutes." The team toured the West Coast nightclub circuit, performing a mime act and lip synching to old 78 records. They brought their act to Atlanta, Georgia, in the early 1950s and performed a NBC television show featuring original skits and music.

Dick Van Dyke's start in television was with WDSU-TV New Orleans Channel 6 (NBC), first as a single comedian and later as emcee of a comedy program. Van Dyke's first network TV appearance was on The Phil Silvers Show in the 1957–1958 season.

Van Dyke starred in the situation comedy The Dick Van Dyke Show from 1961 to 1966 in which he portrayed a comedy writer named Rob Petrie. Complementing Van Dyke was a veteran cast of comedic actors including Rose Marie, Morey Amsterdam, Jerry Paris, Carl Reiner (as Alan Brady), as well as television newcomer Mary Tyler Moore, who played Rob's wife Laura Petrie. He won three Emmy Awards as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series and the series received four Emmy Awards as Outstanding Comedy Series. From 1971 to 1974, Van Dyke starred in an unrelated sitcom called The New Dick Van Dyke Show in which he starred as a local television talk show host. He received a Golden Globe nomination for his performance, but the show was less successful than its predecessor, and Van Dyke pulled the plug on the show after just three seasons.

In the 1970s, Van Dyke hosted his own hour-long variety show called Van Dyke & Company on NBC. It aired between September and December 1976. When Carol Burnett's main foil Harvey Korman quit her long-running variety series in 1977, Van Dyke took his place. This was the first time he played second banana on television and there were very few comedic sparks between Van Dyke and Burnett. He left after three months.

From 1993 to 2001, Van Dyke portrayed Dr. Mark Sloan in the long-running television series Diagnosis: Murder, a medical drama; son Barry co-starred. A 2004 special of The Dick Van Dyke Show titled The Dick Van Dyke Show Revisited was heavily promoted as the first new episode of the classic series to be shown in thirty-eight years. Van Dyke and his surviving cast members recreated their roles; the program was roundly panned by critics.

Van Dyke has made many guest appearances on other television programs throughout his lengthy career.

Van Dyke began his film career by reprising his stage role in the film version of Bye Bye Birdie (1963). Despite his unhappiness with the adaptation because the focus differed from the stage version, the film was a success. That same year, Van Dyke was cast in two roles as the chimney sweep Bert and Mr. Dawes Senior, the chairman of the bank in Walt Disney's Mary Poppins (1964). To film his scenes as the chairman, he was heavily costumed to look much older, and was credited in that role as "Nackvid Keyd" (at the end of the credits, the letters unscramble into "Dick Van Dyke"). Van Dyke's attempt at a cockney accent was cited as one of the worst film accents in a 2003 poll by Empire magazine. Mary Poppins was nonetheless successful upon release and its enduring appeal has made it one of the most famous films in cinematic history. "Chim Chim Cher-ee", one of the songs that Van Dyke performed in Mary Poppins, won the Academy Award for Best Original Song for the Sherman Brothers, the film's songwriting duo.

Many of the comedy films in which Van Dyke starred throughout the 1960s were relatively unsuccessful at the box office, including What a Way to Go!, Lt. Robin Crusoe, U.S.N., Fitzwilly, The Art of Love, Some Kind of a Nut, Never a Dull Moment, and Divorce American Style. He also starred (with his native accent, despite the English setting) in the musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968), which co-starred Sally Ann Howes and featured songs by the Sherman Brothers

In 1969, Van Dyke appeared in the dramedy The Comic, written and directed by Carl Reiner. Van Dyke portrayed a self-destructive silent-film era comedian who struggles with alcoholism, depression and his own rampant ego. Reiner wrote the film especially for Van Dyke, who often spoke of his admiration for silent film era comedians such as Charlie Chaplin and his hero Stan Laurel. He also began starring in a series of commercials as a spokesperson for Kodak.

In 1973, Van Dyke voiced his animated likeness for the October 27, 1973, installment of Hanna-Barbera's The New Scooby-Doo Movies, "Scooby-Doo Meets Dick Van Dyke", the series' final first-run episode. The following year, he received an Emmy Award nomination for his role as an alcoholic businessman in the television movie The Morning After (1974). Van Dyke revealed after its release that he had recently overcome a real-life drinking problem. That same year, he guest-starred as a murdering photographer on an episode of Columbo.

Van Dyke returned to comedy in 1976 with the sketch comedy show Van Dyke and Company, which co-starred Andy Kaufman and Super Dave Osborne. Despite being cancelled after three months, the show won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy-Variety Series. For the next decade, he appeared mostly in low-rated TV movies. One exception was an atypical role as a murdering judge on the first episode of the TV series Matlock in 1986 starring Andy Griffith. In 1989, he guest-starred on the NBC comedy series The Golden Girls, portraying a lover of Beatrice Arthur's character. This role earned him his first Emmy Award nomination since 1977.

In 1990, Van Dyke, whose usual role had been the amiable hero, took a small but villainous turn as the crooked D.A. Fletcher in Warren Beatty's film Dick Tracy. The reviews he received for Tracy led him to star in a series of TV movies on CBS that became the foundation for his popular television drama Diagnosis: Murder, which ran from 1993 to 2001. He first played the character Dr. Mark Sloan in an episode of Jake and the Fatman. He continued to find television work after the show ended, including a dramatically and critically successful performance of The Gin Game, produced for television in 2003, that reunited him with Mary Tyler Moore. In 2003, he portrayed a doctor on Scrubs, and in 2006, he guest-starred as college professor Dr. Jonathan Maxwell for a series of Murder 101 mystery films on the Hallmark Channel.

Van Dyke returned to motion pictures in 2006 with Curious George as Mr. Bloomsberry and as villain Cecil Fredericks in the Ben Stiller film Night at the Museum. He reprised the role in a cameo for the sequel, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian but it was cut from the film. It can be found in the special features on the DVD release.

Van Dyke received a Grammy Award for his performance on the soundtrack to Mary Poppins.

One of Van Dyke's modern passions is producing 3D computer graphics. He is credited with the creation of a 3D rendered effect shown in Diagnosis: Murder, and continues to work with LightWave 3D.

In 2010, Van Dyke appeared on a children's album titled Rhythm Train, with Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith and singer Leslie Bixler. Van Dyke raps on one of the album's tracks. The album is available through the Internet.

Van Dyke was born in West Plains, Missouri, to Loren (nickname "Cookie") and Hazel (née McCord) Van Dyke, but grew up in Danville, Illinois. He is the older brother of actor Jerry Van Dyke, who is best known for his role on the TV series Coach. He is of Dutch descent on his father's side. His mother, as a Mayflower descendant, is of pure English extraction but also carries additional Scottish ancestry.

During World War II, he enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps where be became a radio announcer and served in Special Services entertaining troops in the Continental United States.

Van Dyke married Margie Willett in 1948. They had four children: Christian (Chris), Barry, Carrie Beth, and Stacy. They divorced in 1984 after a long separation. He lived with longtime companion Michelle Triola for more than thirty years until her death in 2009. Van Dyke's son Barry Van Dyke and grandsons Shane Van Dyke and Carey Van Dyke are also actors; both of these last two, along with other Van Dyke relations and grandchildren, appeared in various episodes of the long-running series Diagnosis: Murder. All of Van Dyke's children are married, and he has seven grandchildren. His son Chris served as district attorney for Marion County, Oregon, in the 1980s; among his cases was the so-called I-5 Killer, Randall Woodfield.

In 1987, his granddaughter Jessica Van Dyke died from Reye's Syndrome, which drove him to do a series of television commercials to raise public awareness of the danger to children.

In 1970, he published Faith, Hope and Hilarity: A Child's Eye View of Religion a book of humorous anecdotes based largely on his experiences as a Sunday School teacher.

Van Dyke is a computer animation enthusiast and has displayed some of his CGI work at trade shows. This interest is referred to in the 2004 TV movie The Dick Van Dyke Show Revisited, which shows that Rob Petrie has also become a CGI hobbyist. For a long time he used an Amiga 4000 with Video Toaster for creating his CG work.

As an a cappella enthusiast, Van Dyke has sung in a group called "The Vantastix" since September, 2000. The quartet has performed several times in Los Angeles as well as on Larry King Live, The First Annual TV Land Awards, and sung the national anthem at three Los Angeles Lakers games including a nationally televised NBA Finals performance on NBC. Van Dyke was made an honorary member of the Barbershop Harmony Society in 1999.

Van Dyke has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7021 Hollywood Blvd.
Dick Van Dyke  was nearly cast as Fagin in Oliver! (1968) since the Columbia producers felt that Ron Moody, who had played the part in the London stage version, wasn't famous enough to attract movie audiences. Van Dyke ultimately chose to star in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) instead.
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Often hosted game shows when he was a struggling actor. He hosted "Mother's Day" (1958) and "Laugh Line" (1959) but turned down "The Price Is Right" (1956).

Lived with Michelle Triola from 1976 until her death in 2009.

Brother of entertainer Jerry Van Dyke.

Son Barry Van Dyke and grandson Carey Van Dyke also worked on "Diagnosis Murder" (1993) with him. Sons Barry and Christian Van Dyke also appeared in an episode of "The Dick Van Dyke Show" (1961). The storyline showed Dick visiting son Ritchie's grade school class for "Daddy's Day", when fathers visited the classroom to explain what they did for a living.

Daughter Stacy Van Dyke guest starred on "Diagnosis Murder" (1993), in "Diagnosis Murder: Murder in the Family (#4.12)" (1996). Grandson Shane Van Dyke guest-starred in 14 episodes of "Diagnosis Murder" (1993).

According to his book "Those Funny Kids: A Treasury of Classroom Laughter", by age 11 he had grown to 6'1".

Is ambidextrous.

Served in the U.S. Air Force.

He enlisted to be a pilot in the Army Air Corps during WWII, but initially did not make the cut because he did not meet the weight requirement, as he was underweight. He tried 3 times to enlist, before barely making the cut. He actually served as a radio announcer during the war, and he did not leave the United States.

He and his wife Margie married on the radio show "Bride and Groom" because the show paid for the wedding rings, a honeymoon and household appliances. After their wedding, the Van Dykes were so poor that they had to live in their car for a while.

Beat out Johnny Carson for the role of Rob Petrie on what later became "The Dick Van Dyke Show" (1961) .

Won Broadway's 1961 Tony Award as Best Supporting or Featured Actor (Musical) for "Bye, Bye Birdie" and a Grammy Award for the Mary Poppins (1964) soundtrack.

His comic inspiration was Stan Laurel. He says he was able to find him by looking up his name in the phone book in Santa Monica, California, where Laurel lived. He called and Laurel invited him over. The two became good friends. When Laurel died, Van Dyke delivered his eulogy at the funeral.

Says that his most memorable role is that of Bert the chimney-sweep in Mary Poppins (1964).

Overcame alcoholism in the 1970s.

Children: Christian Van Dyke, Barry Van Dyke, Stacy Van Dyke and Carrie Beth van Dyke. Grandchildren: Carey Van Dyke, Shane Van Dyke, Wes Van Dyke and 'Taryn Van Dyke'. Great-granddaughter: Ava Van Dyke.

Became a great-grandfather on July 26, 2001, when his grandson Carey Van Dyke (Barry Van Dyke's oldest child) and his wife Anne Van Dyke had a baby girl named Ava Van Dyke.

He finally received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1992. But when the star was unveiled, his name was misspelled on the star as "VANDYKE". Being a good sport he laughed, took a pen and drew a slash between "VAN" and "DYKE". The star was corrected soon after.

His album "Songs I Like By Dick Van Dyke" (Command Records, 1963), released at the height of his TV success and just before the release of Mary Poppins (1964), was actually a best-seller, remaining on Billboard's top-40 albums chart for several weeks in late 1963-early 1964.

In Britain, his attempt at a Cockney accent in Mary Poppins (1964) is so notorious that a "Dick Van Dyke accent" is an accepted slang term for an American's unsuccessful attempt at a British accent. Despite that, he is quite popular in Britain.

In July 1999 he was made an honorary life member of The Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America (SPEBSQSA), Inc. at their annual International Convention in Anaheim, California. He has sung in an a cappella quartet called "The Vantastix" since 2000. The group released a children's album in 2008.

The album "Songs I Like By Dick Van Dyke" was recorded on Friday, November 22, 1963. Early in the recording session the artists and orchestra were informed of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas. In spite of the tragic news, and a deadline from Command Records that had to be met, the recording session continued to a successful conclusion - albeit in an emotionally-charged atmosphere. He said that he scarcely remembers the session because he was in such a state of shock after hearing the news.

Rob Petrie, Van Dyke's role on "The Dick Van Dyke Show" (1961), was ranked #22 in TV Guide's list of the "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time" [20 June 2004 issue].

Although he had light brown hair when he was in his 30s and 40s, he had blonde hair as a child.

In his 30s and 40s he had a talent for playing crotchety, eccentric old men. He played this kind of role in Mary Poppins (1964) as "Mr. Dawes Sr." and in a "The Dick Van Dyke Show" (1961) episode where he played one of Rob Petrie's elderly relatives.

Played Lionel Jeffries's son in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) even though Jeffries is actually six months his junior.

A close friend of his is "The Dick Van Dyke Show" (1961) co-star Mary Tyler Moore.

Grew up in Danville, Illinois, with brother Jerry Van Dyke and fellow celebrities Gene Hackman and Bobby Short. Was a graduate of Danville High School, where he was in the drama club.

Was offered the role of Ambassador Thorn in The Omen (1976) before it went to Gregory Peck, but turned it down because of the film's violent and gory content.

Dabbled in computer animation since the 1980s. Using Newtek's Lightwave 3D from home, he created and animated a CG version of himself that he danced with on The Dick Van Dyke Show Revisited (2004) (TV).

His cockney accent in Mary Poppins (1964) was so heavily criticized that it may have cost him a Best Leading Actor Academy Award nomination the following year.

Son of Loren Van Dyke and wife Hazel Vorice McCord.

Had a brief stint as a TV weatherman.

Portrayed Albert Peterson in the original Broadway stage version of Bye Bye Birdie and reprised his role in the movie Bye Bye Birdie (1963).

Is a staunch Democrat and a vocal supporter of gun control. Attended some fundraisers for Eugene McCarthy in the 1968 Democratic primaries.

Was a heavy smoker for fifty years, smoking three packs of cigarettes a day for a time. He finally managed to quit using gum and patches.

Best known for his starring roles as Rob Petrie on "The Dick Van Dyke Show" (1961) and as Dr. Mark Sloan on "Diagnosis Murder" (1993).

In 1968 he left Hollywood and bought a ranch in Arizona.

Actively campaigned in Democrat Pierre Salinger's losing 1964 fight for senator against Republican George Murphy.

Is a huge fan of Barbra Streisand.

By the late 1980s it seemed that Van Dyke's career was over. However, his acclaimed performance as the District Attorney in Dick Tracy (1990) led to "Diagnosis Murder" (1993), which proved to be a big television comeback for the 67-year-old star.

Although highly praised for his dancing in Mary Poppins (1964) and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968), Van Dyke was never trained as a dancer and did not begin dancing until he was in his thirties.
I've retired so many times now it's getting to be a habit.

I remember in the book that Caractacus was married. There was no love interest, no love story. So I think bringing Truly Scrumptious in works very well because we had assumed he was a widower. And they couldn't have picked a better Truly Scrumptious than Sally [Sally Ann Howes]. They came up with Sally Ann and I heard her voice, and it was the richest contralto. She auditioned with "The Lovely Lonely Man" and I thought, "My God, this girl is great!" and then she was stunningly beautiful. She loved those kids and they loved her, which I think comes across on the screen. They just thought a great deal of her and she spent a lot of time with them, you know, between shots - telling stories and playing games during all those long waiting periods.

I never wanted to be an actor and to this day I don't. I can't get a handle on it. An actor wants to become someone else. I am a song-and-dance man and I enjoy being myself, which is all I can do.

I've made peace with insecurity... because there is no security of any kind.

In the best of all worlds the producers would take some responsibility for the kinds of things they're putting out. Unfortunately, they don't. And then I - they keep saying we can't have our First Amendment rights abridged and we can't have censorship. Well we had it back in the Hayes days, in the Johnson office days. And I think they should - maybe the American people might bring it back if things get bad enough.

I think it's such a shame that Walt didn't live to see computer animation, because he would have had a good time with it ... In those days it was before the blue screen. They used what was called yellow sulphur lighting - the screen was yellow, and we worked with that all day, and by the time the day was over you couldn't see anything ... It was just an empty soundstage. And sometimes we didn't even have the music - we would just dance to a click rhythm. But I think technically it holds up today just as well as anything.

I thought Walt Disney hired me because I was such a great singer and dancer. As it turns out, he had heard me in an interview talking about what was happening to family entertainment. I was decrying the fact that it seemed like no holds were barred anymore in entertainment ... That's why he called me in, because I said something he agreed with. And I got the part. - On Mary Poppins (1964)

It was a marvelous relaxer ... Jack Daniel's became my good friend. Then sometime in my early forties he turned on me.

But at the time, I thought I would come out, because there was such a strange perception about alcoholism that people had serious character flaws, you know. They had weak wills or something. They had this image of, you know, a guy laying in on the street and skid row, whereas it can happen to normal, average middle-class guy.

I think that cigarettes are worse. I think that nicotine ... I've heard heroin addicts and cocaine addicts say it was nothing compared to getting off cigarettes.

A lot of violence, a lot of gore in it, and I just didn't want to do that kind of thing.

Bob Hope, like Mark Twain, had a sense of humor that was uniquely American, and like Twain, we'll likely not see another like him.

But I wish they would make a musical of some kind. I miss musicals so much. You don't see them anymore.

But once we got on the air, everybody except Morey Amsterdam pretty much stuck to the script.

I cannot tell you what it means when children recognize. This is about the third generation for me. And when kids that small recognize me, it really pleases me, very gratifying.

I don't have any children, I have four middle-aged people.

I don't think we've got much of a chance to tell you the truth. But our main problem is our audience skews a little older than most shows, and I don't think our people can stay up that late. I certainly can't.

I grew up in Danville, Illinois, right in the middle of the state.

I have four children and I have seven grandkids.

I learned everything that I know about comedy and about show business and a lot about life from Carl.

I loved to fall down.

I never made a good movie.

I think it's being thrown at the wolves, we call it in our business.

I think most people will tell you that. They can go along and, while they're denying that they are addicted, say it's stress this, it's this, it's that. But I - it's - I think - I really believe there is a gene. Some people become addicted and others don't.

I think the saddest moment in my life just happened two months ago. My old nightclub partner passed away, Phil Erickson down in Atlanta. He - I owe him everything. He put me in the business and taught me about everything I know.

I turned down some movies that were quite good. mainly on the basis of taste.

I wanted to be a radio announcer.

I was always in show business but in many ways was not really of show business. I didn't move in show business circles, particularly, still don't do it.

My kids are so much better parent than I was.

My son Barry, of course, has been on from the beginning. And his son Shane is playing now a med student regularly on the show. And at one point or another, I've had all four of his kids on the show

No, I did night clubs right here in Los Angeles. My partner, Phil Erickson, put me in the business, a guy from my home town, a dear friend who we just lost a couple of months ago.

No, no, it was the relationships. That was that group. People believed that Rob and Laura were really married in real life. You know, a lot of people believed that.

Oh, I had an idea for a pilot of my own at the time, and then Carl sent me about eight scripts and simply I threw my idea out the window because the writing was just so good.

Oh, well, my first love is comedy or singing and dancing.

Probably one of the happiest moments, outside the birth of all of my kids, was the first time we won an Emmy, that the show won an Emmy. That was a big night.

So as my kids will tell you, they had a pretty normal life.

So at 16 I got a job at the local radio station. And I was working after school and weekends. I did the news; I did everything. I did - played records.

So I think we're kind of an alternate choice for people who have had it with sex and violence.

Stan said he used to keep Hardy late, make him miss his golf game, and really get him mad.

Today, if you're not an alcoholic, you're nobody.

We had all week to rehearse. An audience would come in at the end of the week and we'd our little show. Most of the ad- libbing happened during the week on the show.

Women will never be as successful as men because they have no wives to advise them.

You know, I'm almost out of the habit of watching episodic television now.
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