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Dick Van Dyke

Dick Van Dyke

Born: Richard Wayne Van Dyke, 13 December 1925 (1925-12-13) (age 82), West Plains, Missouri, USA

Occupation: Actor, comedian, producer, writer

Years active: 1955–present ********************** Spouse(s): Margie Willett (1948–1970) (According to Wikipedia)

Margie Willett (12 February 1948 - 1984) (divorced) 4 children (According to IMDb) ********************** Married: Marjorie Willett, 1948; three daughters and two sons (According to The Museum of Broadcast Communications) ********************** Wife: Margorie Willett (high school girlfriend, m. 12-Feb-1948, div. 4-May-1984)

Son: Barry Van Dyke (actor, b. 31-Jul-1951 with Willett)

Daughter: Carrie-Beth

Son: Christian

Daughter: Stacy

Girlfriend: Michelle Triola Marvin (b. 1933, former companion of actor Lee Marvin) (According to NNDB) ************************

Dick Van Dyke

Richard Wayne “Dick” Van Dyke (born December 13, 1925) is an American actor, presenter and entertainer, with a career spanning 5 decades. He is best known for his starring roles in Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Dick Van Dyke Show and Diagnosis: Murder.


Early life

Van Dyke was born in West Plains, Missouri and grew up in Danville, Illinois, USA, the son of Hazel Vorice (née McCord) and Loren Wayne "Cookie" Van Dyke, a traveling salesman for the Sunshine Biscuit Company with a talent for comedy. He attended elementary school in Danville starting in 1931. In 1938 the Van Dykes, of Dutch origin, moved to Crawfordsville, Indiana for two years, and returned to Danville in 1940 where he attended high school. As a child, he was inspired to go into show business by watching Laurel & Hardy films at the movie theater.

After appearing in many high school plays and community theater productions, Van Dyke enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces during World War II. There he participated in stage shows and worked as a radio DJ. He appeared on a variety of television shows such as The Phil Silvers Show, The Garry Moore Show, What's My Line and To Tell The Truth. He also hosted CBS Cartoon Theater, Laugh Line and Mothers Day. His big break came on April 14, 1960, on Broadway as Albert Peterson in Bye Bye Birdie. He received the Tony Award as Best Featured Actor in 1961. He was spotted by Sheldon Leonard who was looking for a comedic actor to star in a new situation comedy created by Carl Reiner. Another actor considered for the role was Johnny Carson. During the early run of the show, Van Dyke also served as the host of "Flair," a daytime magazine show on ABC radio patterned after NBC's Monitor, premiering October 3, 1960.


Dick Van Dyke

Television career

Van Dyke starred in a popular situation comedy called The Dick Van Dyke Show, from 1961 to 1966 in which he played a comedy writer named Rob Petrie. Complementing Van Dyke was a veteran cast of talented comedic actors including Rose Marie, Morey Amsterdam, Jerry Paris, Carl Reiner (as Alan Brady), as well as a newcomer to television Mary Tyler Moore, who played Rob's wife Laura Petrie. He won three Emmy Awards 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 portrayed a local television talk show host.

To entice Van Dyke to return to series television, CBS literally built a studio in Carefree, Arizona, the star's new home town, for the purpose of filming it. Reviews and ratings were generally good and the show lasted three seasons. When the network executives refused to air one episode on the grounds that it was too sexually charged, producer Carl Reiner walked out on the series; Van Dyke decided not to renew. The seventies found Dick on NBC with his own hour-long variety show called Van Dyke & Co. It aired between September and December 1976. When Carol Burnett's main foil Harvey Korman quit her long-running variety series, Van Dyke took his place. This was the first time he played second banana on television, and there were very few comedic sparks between Dick and Carol. He left after one season.

In 1988, he starred in a short-lived sitcom, The Van Dyke Show in which he portrayed a retired Broadway Star. Dick's real-life son Barry was a regular. From 1993 to 2001 Dick portrayed Dr. Mark Sloan in the long running television series Diagnosis Murder, a medical/crime drama; son Barry co-starred. A 2004 special, The Dick Van Dyke Show Revisited, was heavily promoted as the first new episode of the classic series to be shown in 38 years. Dick and his surviving cast members recreated their roles; the program was roundly panned by critics.

He also has made many guest appearances on other television programs throughout his lengthy career, and continues to be in demand.

Dick Van Dyke

Film career

Van Dyke began his film career by reprising his stage role in the film version of Bye Bye Birdie in 1963. Although Van Dyke was unhappy with the adaptation because the focus was shifted to Ann-Margret's character, the film was a major success. He followed that up with Walt Disney's Mary Poppins in 1964, in which he played Bert, a Cockney chimney sweep, and also, in heavy disguise, the bank's elderly chairman, credited in that role as "Nackvid Keyd" (an anagram for "Dick Van Dyke"). Van Dyke's attempt at a cockney accent (lapsing out of it at times) was nonetheless widely ridiculed and is still frequently parodied. It is still often cited as one of the worst attempts at a British accent by an American actor, a fact acknowledged with good humour by Van Dyke himself on the 2004 DVD release of the film. But the film was very popular and innovative and also showed his versatility as a singer and dancer. One of his showcase songs, "Chim Chim Cher-ee", won the Oscar for the Sherman Brothers, the film's songwriting team.

Van Dyke made several more comedy movies throughout the 1960s including What a Way to Go!, Lt. Robin Crusoe, U.S.N., Fitzwilly, The Art of Love, Never a Dull Moment, and Divorce American Style. Although most of his movies from this era were relatively unsuccessful, the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was a worldwide success and is still fondly remembered today. In later years, Van Dyke would complain that he had "never made a good movie."

Click here to see a great Dick Van Dyke video clip.

Dick Van Dyke

Dramatic roles and career comeback

In 1969, Van Dyke appeared in the comedy-drama The Comic, which was written and directed by Carl Reiner. Van Dyke plays 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 would often talk of his admiration for silent film era comedians such as Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Ben Turpin and his hero, Stan Laurel. He also began starring in a series of commercials as a spokesperson for Kodak.

In 1971, Van Dyke starred with Hope Lange in another sitcom called The New Dick Van Dyke Show. He portrayed Dick Preston, a local talk show host in Phoenix, Arizona. Van Dyke was actually living in Carefree, Arizona at the time and the show was filmed there in a new Scottsdale Road facility, Southwestern Studios.

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" (aka "The Haunted Carnival"), the series' final first run episode.

In 1974, Van Dyke received an Emmy nomination for his role as an alcoholic businessman in the television movie The Morning After. It was at this time that Van Dyke admitted he had recently overcome a real-life drinking problem.

In 1974, he played another atypical role as a murdering photographer in Negative Reaction, an episode of the popular series Columbo; two years earlier, he was dialogue coach for another episode, Dagger Of The Mind. He also began doing public service announcements for the National Fire Protection Agency through 1984. Van Dyke returned to comedy in 1976 with the sketch comedy show Van Dyke and Company, which also starred Andy Kaufman and Super Dave Osborne. Despite being cancelled after only three months, the show won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy-Variety Series, beating Saturday Night Live.

Dick Van Dyke

Dramatic roles and career comeback continued

In 1977, Van Dyke then joined the cast of The Carol Burnett Show after Harvey Korman left the show. Unfortunately, his comedy style did not work as well with Burnett's, and he left the show after three months. For the next decade, he appeared mainly in low-rated TV movies. One exception was another atypical role as a murdering judge on the first episode of the TV series Matlock in 1986 starring Andy Griffith. In 1988, Van Dyke returned with another sitcom called The Van Dyke Show, which co-starred his son, Barry. The show was cancelled after just five episodes.

His career seemed essentially over by 1989 when Dick Van Dyke started a career comeback. First, he took a guest starring role on NBC's hit TV series The Golden Girls playing Dorothy's (Bea Arthur's) beau, who decides to give up being a lawyer to become a circus clown. The role earned him his first Emmy 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 movie 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, a 2004 on Scrubs, where he played a doctor who could not keep up with the changing ways of medical care, and in 2006 accepted a starring role 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 Cecil in the Ben Stiller film Night at the Museum.

Other work

Van Dyke was a great admirer of Stan Laurel and even gave the eulogy at his funeral. He also produced a TV special soon afterward, A Salute to Stan Laurel. He once met Laurel and told him he had copied a great deal from him. He said Laurel only laughed and said, "I've noticed that." Van Dyke once did a sketch on his sitcom in which he imitated Laurel. After the show aired, he phoned Laurel to ask what he thought of it. To Van Dyke's surprise, Laurel said he still owned one of "Stanley's" bowler hats and would have lent it to Van Dyke for the sketch if he had only asked.

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.

Personal life

Van Dyke is the older brother of actor Jerry Van Dyke, who is best known for his role on the TV series Coach.

He married Margie Willett in 1948, with whom he had four children: Christian (Chris), Barry, Carrie Beth and Stacy. They divorced in 1984 after a long separation. Van Dyke's son Barry Van Dyke and grandson Carey Van Dyke are also actors; both, along with other Van Dyke relations and grandchildren, appeared in various episodes of the long-running Diagnosis: Murder series. All of Van Dyke's children are married, and he has seven grandchildren. His son Chris served as district attorney for Marion County in the 1980s. Among his cases was the so-called I-5 Killer, Randall Woodfield. Dick resides with longtime companion Michelle Triola.

In 1987, his granddaughter Jessica Van Dyke died from Reye's Syndrome, which caused him to do a series of television commercials to raise public awareness of the danger to children. He is still the National Spokesman of the National Reye's Syndrome Foundation.

He has also served as an elder in the Presbyterian Church.

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 a 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 has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6675 Hollywood Blvd.



Put On A Happy Face (with Dick Van Dyke and The Vantastix) (2008)


The Girls Against the Boys (November 2 – November 14, 1959) Bye Bye Birdie (April 14, 1960 – October 7, 1961) (left the show when it moved to the Shubert Theatre) The Music Man (June 5 – June 22, 1980) (Revival) Chita Rivera: The Dancer's Life (guest star from January 24–January 26, 2006)


Bye Bye Birdie (1963)

What a Way to Go! (1964)

Mary Poppins (1964)

The Art of Love (1965)

Lt. Robin Crusoe, U.S.N. (1966)

Divorce American Style (1967)

Fitzwilly (1967)

Never a Dull Moment (1968)

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)

Some Kind of a Nut (1969)

The Comic (1969)

Cold Turkey (1971)

Tubby the Tuba (1976)

The Runner Stumbles (1979)

Dick Tracy (1990)

Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002) (cameo)

Batman: New Times (2005)

Curious George (2006)

Night at the Museum (2006)

Night at the Museum 2: Escape from the Smithsonian (2009)


The Morning Show host (1955)

CBS Cartoon Theater (1956)

The Chevy Showroom Starring Andy Williams (1958)

Mother's Day (1958–1959)

Laugh Line (1959) (canceled after 3 months)

The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961–1966)

Dick Van Dyke and the Other Woman (1969)

Dick Van Dyke Meets Bill Cosby (1970)

The New Dick Van Dyke Show (1971–1974)

Julie and Dick at Covent Garden (1974)

The Morning After (1974)

Columbo: Negative Reaction (1974)

Van Dyke and Company (1976)

The Carol Burnett Show (cast member in 1977)

True Life Stories (1981)

The Country Girl (1982)

Drop-Out Father (1982)

Wrong Way Kid (1983) (voice)

Found Money (1983)

Breakfast with Les and Bess (1985)

Strong Medicine (1986)

Ghost of a Chance (1987)

The Van Dyke Show (1988)

Matlock (1990)

Daughters of Privilege (1991)

The House on Sycamore Street (1992)

The Town That Santa Forgot (1993) (voice)

A Twist of the Knife (1993)

Becker (1999) (Becker's Father)

Diagnosis: Murder (1993–2001)

Paul O'Grady does America (2003)

A Town Without Pity (2002)

Without Warning (2002)

Sabrina the Teenage Witch (2002)

The Gin Game (2003)

The Alan Brady Show (2003) (voice)

The Dick Van Dyke Show Revisited (2004)

Scrubs (2004)

Murder 101 (2006)

Murder 101: College Can Be Murder (2007)

Murder 101: If Wishes Were Horses (2007)

Murder 101: Locked Room Mystery (2008)



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