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Dick Van Dyke Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (4) | Trivia (107) | Personal Quotes (11)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 13 December 1925West Plains, Missouri, USA
Birth NameRichard Wayne Van Dyke
Height 6' 1" (1.85 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Although he'd had small roles beforehand, Dick Van Dyke was launched to stardom in the 1960 musical "Bye-Bye Birdie", for which he won a Tony Award, and, then, later in the movie based on that play, Bye Bye Birdie (1963). He has starred in a number of films throughout the years including Mary Poppins (1964), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) and Fitzwilly (1967), as well as a number of successful television series which won him no less than four Emmys and three made-for-CBS movies. After separating from his wife, Margie Willett, in the 1970s, Dick later became involved with Michelle Triola. Margie and Dick had four children born during the first ten years of their marriage: Barry Van Dyke; Carrie Beth van Dyke; Christian Van Dyke and Stacy Van Dyke, all of whom are now in their forties and married themselves. He has seven grandchildren, including Shane Van Dyke, Carey Van Dyke, Wes Van Dyke and Taryn Van Dyke (Barry's children) and family members often appear with him on Diagnosis Murder (1993).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Taiyo

Spouse (2)

Arlene Silver (29 February 2012 - present)
Marjorie Willett (12 February 1948 - 4 May 1984) (divorced) (4 children)

Trade Mark (4)

Often works with his son Barry Van Dyke
Performed his own unique style of dancing
Grey moustache
Deep baritone voice

Trivia (107)

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. Van Dyke had become friendly with her before his marriage ended and in his autobiography he admits that the final cause of his divorce from his wife was when he gave Michelle Triola out of his own pocket the six-figure amount she had sued for unsuccessfully in her infamous "palimony" case against Lee Marvin.
Older 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 The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961) episode, The Dick Van Dyke Show: The Talented Neighborhood (1962).
Daughter Stacy Van Dyke guest starred on Diagnosis Murder (1993), in Diagnosis Murder: Murder in the Family (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 United States Air Force.
He enlisted to be a pilot in the Army Air Corps during World War II, but initially did not make the cut because he did not meet the weight requirement, as he was underweight. He tried three 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.
Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7021 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on February 25, 1993. 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 television success and just before the release of Mary Poppins (1964), was actually a bestseller, 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.
Had played Lionel Jeffries's son in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) even though Jeffries is actually six months his junior.
Is close friends with his 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).
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 television weatherman in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Had 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. He claimed that quitting smoking was much harder than quitting drinking.
Best known by the public 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.
He 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.
Did not appear in his first movie until he was 36.
Father Loren was a salesman of Dutch descent and mother Hazel was of Scottish stock. The family moved from Missouri to Danville, Illinois when Dick was quite young.
Made his acting debut playing the baby Jesus in a church Christmas pageant. Was told he cried all the way through it.
Was a radio announcer at a Danville Illinois radio station at the age of 16. He did the news as well as spun records.
Performed in several variety shows while serving in the United States Army during World War II.
Formed a night club stand-up comedy act in the late 1940s with his pal from Danville, Phil Erickson. They toured the country as the slapstick, lip-syncing "Merry Mutes". The act eventually broke up in 1954 and Dick went solo, finding work on New Orleans local television.
Buster Keaton and Stan Laurel were two of his comedy idols. Both became fans of Dick's classic TV series.
The adult Broadway cast (Dick, Paul Lynde, Maureen Stapleton) who recreated their roles for the film version of Bye Bye Birdie (1963) were generally disappointed in the film. It was felt that director George Sidney placed far too much focus on Ann-Margret's teen role, a role that was secondary in the stage hit. Ann-Margret was at the time experiencing a meteoric rise in films.
Uncle of Kelly Van Dyke (aka Nancee Kelly).
Received a lemon cake every Christmas from Charles Bronson, who lived nearby in Malibu, for 16 years.
Underwent spinal surgery in April 2011.
Although Van Dyke is now a committed non-smoker, he admits that he used to smoke 60 cigarettes a day.
His Diagnosis Murder (1993) co-star, Charlie Schlatter, would reprise his role on an episode of The Sopranos (1999), in 2000.
Is one of the two actors to have appeared in every episode of Diagnosis Murder (1993).
Went into semi-retirement in the mid-1970s.
His mother, Hazel McCord Van Dyke, died at age 95, in 1992.
Almost graduated from Danville High School in Danville, Illinois, in 1944.
Was born just 6 months after his parents wedding that same year.
Before he was a successful actor and a comedian, he did everything from working in an advertising agency to becoming a disc jockey.
His mother, Hazel Voice McCord was a Sunday School teacher (before her son) and a housewife, and his father, Loren Van Dyke, was a baseball player for the Terre Haute Huts, and tenor saxophonist for the Danville Schoenbeck Orchestra.
Prior to being an actor, he was also a Sunday School teacher and an elder at a Presbyterian church, who ministered every Sunday.
Created most of his own comedy routines and physical schticks on The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961).
Helped his ex-The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961) co-star, Mary Tyler Moore get her own sitcom, in the 1970s.
Moved to Atlanta, Georgia, with his best friend, Phil Erickson, and wife Margie, in 1948, after he and Erickson grew weary of the West Coast circuit. This was where Marjorie gave birth to two sons, Christian Van Dyke and Barry Van Dyke, within a year.
Until he reached 30, he lived in five states.
His situation comedy The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961) was based on the series "Head of the Family".
Met Byron Paul in the Army, who offered him a seven-year contract with CBS in 1955.
At the beginning of the third season, The New Dick Van Dyke Show (1971) had moved production from Phoenix to Hollywood, where the change made a big improvement in the ratings, but was canceled because he no longer enjoyed working away from his home and did not want to continue the show without Carl Reiner.
His future Diagnosis Murder (1993) co-star and son, Barry Van Dyke, is associated with his father's productions, and other shows. He began working alongside his father, since he was 10.
Before he was a successful actor, he used to work in a hotel.
Didn't start dancing until he was 34.
Got the lead role of Rob Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961), after producer Sheldon Leonard was so impressed with Van Dyke's performance in the stage production of "Bye, Bye Birdie.".
He was also a two-time children's host, before he became a successful comedian and an actor.
Once rapped and danced with Michele Lee, about who would have won the People's Choice Awards in 1962.
Received a phone call from his son and future Diagnosis Murder (1993) co-star, Barry Van Dyke, who asked him to play Dr. Mark Sloan, which he accepted after guest-starring on an episode of Jake and the Fatman (1987).
He threatened to leave his role on Diagnosis Murder (1993), at the end of the second season, but CBS insisted that he came back, which fortunately he did, and stayed on the show, for the next six seasons.
Separated from his wife, Margie Willett, after 30 years of marriage - they would later divorce in 1984.
Remained good friends with son Barry Van Dyke, Victoria Rowell and Charlie Schlatter during and after Diagnosis Murder (1993).
Met his future wife, his longtime classmate/sweetheart, Margie Torrell Willett, while attending high school, but did not marry her until long after Van Dyke's Army service.
His hobbies include golfing, sailing, spending time with his family, dancing, traveling, comedy, playing piano, using the computer, Bible, praying and singing.
Is a close friend and dance partner of Chita Rivera.
His ex-wife, Marjory Willett, died in 2008.
When The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961) started, he actually had a crush on Mary Tyler Moore, who played his wife in the series.
His ex-wife, Marjory Willett, detested Hollywood.
Went to high school with Donald O'Connor.
Was about to open at a theater, and what was supposed to be a one-man show, with his quartet backing him up, but was canceled because of his torn Achilles heel in 2011.
Is a huge fan of the situation comedy The Office (2005).
After his divorce with Marjory Willett, he remained close friends with her.
Between Angela Lansbury, Norman Lloyd, Mickey Rooney, Ernest Borgnine, Betty White and Larry Hagman, Van Dyke is one of the stars never to retire from acting.
Attended Michael Landon's funeral in 1991.
Met makeup artist, Arlene Silver, at the SAG Awards in 2006, where he was bowled over by her beauty. Six years later, he married her.
His ex-Diagnosis Murder (1993) co-star, Victoria Rowell, attended the 2012 wedding of Van Dyke and Arlene Silver, and frequently visits them.
Guest-starred on the second episode of Matlock (1986)'s first season, with his old friend Andy Griffith. Eleven years later, Griffith would return the favor by appearing in a two part episode of Diagnosis Murder (1993), reprising his role of Ben Matlock.
Acting mentor and friends of his son Barry Van Dyke, Victoria Rowell and Charlie Schlatter.
Received the Screen Actors Guild's Life Achievement Award on January 27, 2013.
Made a comeback to television, for the first time in 27 years, with Diagnosis Murder (1993).
Began his television series Diagnosis Murder (1993) at age 67.
Was rescued from his Jaguar, as it was burning on the Ventura Freeway in Los Angeles on August 19, 2013.
Met Andy Griffith in 1954, in New York City. They become friends for over 55 years until Griffith's death in 2012.
Was longtime friends with Buddy Ebsen. Van Dyke hosted Ebsen's memorial service on August 30, 2003.
Announced he will be retiring from acting and will be leaving Diagnosis Murder (1993) at the end of Season 8 (2000-2001). [October 2000]
Treated for bronchitis but was not hospitalized. [September 2008]

Personal Quotes (11)

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 Hays days [Production Code Administration, headed by 'Will H. Hays', the official Hollywood censor office], 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 Disney] 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.
[about Mary Poppins (1964)] 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.
It was a marvelous relaxer . . . Jack Daniels [bourbon] 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.
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.

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