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 but writes mainly left-handed.
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.
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 any British accent. Despite that, he is quite popular in the UK.
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.
He played Lionel Jeffries's son in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) even though Jeffries was 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. In a 2013 interview with "The Daily Telegraph" Van Dyke said his decision to decline the role was "stupid".
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 up to two packs of cigarettes a day. 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.
He has English, Scottish, German, Swiss-German, and Dutch, ancestry. His 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 20-40 cigarettes a day.
His favorite The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961) episode is The Dick Van Dyke Show: Where Did I Come From? (1962).
Friends with: Shirley Jones, Angela Lansbury, Bea Arthur, Florence Henderson, Ed Asner, Gavin MacLeod, Danny Thomas, Buddy Ebsen, Bill Cullen, Wink Martindale, Michele Lee, Hope Lange, Larry Hagman, Pernell Roberts, Robert Fuller, Angie Dickinson, Debbie Reynolds, James Garner, Andy Griffith, Michael Landon, Dick Van Patten, and wife Pat Van Patten, his brother Jerry Van Dyke, Carl Reiner, Maureen Stapleton, Betsy Palmer, Piper Laurie, Mickey Rooney, Rose Marie, Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Mary Tyler Moore, Richard Deacon, Morey Amsterdam, Warren Beatty, Fred Silverman, Dean Hargrove, Joyce Burditt, Christian I. Nyby II, Sheldon Leonard, Betty White, William Shatner, Dick Martin, Jean Stapleton, Carol Burnett, Tim Conway, Vicki Lawrence, Bill Cosby, Don Rickles, Rosie O'Donnell and Jerry Paris.
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 1994.
Almost graduated from Danville High School in Danville, Illinois, in 1944.
Was born just 6 months after his parents wedding that same year. Van Dyke was 18 years old when he found out he was born in December of 1925 and not March of 1926, as he'd been previously told. At first, his mother informed him that he had been born prematurely. Later, he learned that he'd been conceived out off wedlock.
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 comedian and 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.".
Before he became a successful comedian and an actor, he was also a two-time children's host.
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.
Alongside Angela Lansbury, Norman Lloyd, William Daniels, Mickey Rooney, Ernest Borgnine, Betty White, Charlotte Rae, Adam West, Marla Gibbs, William Shatner, Larry Hagman, Florence Henderson, Shirley Jones and Alan Alda, Van Dyke is one of the few actors in Hollywood who lives into their 80s and/or 90s without ever either retiring from acting or having stopped getting work.
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 Fannie Flagg, his son, Barry Van Dyke, Victoria Rowell and Charlie Schlatter.
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]
Like his best friend Andy Griffith, Van Dyke is known to be a very private man.
Although he played Maureen Stapleton's son in Bye Bye Birdie (1963), he was only six months her junior in real life.
Endorsed Bernie Sanders in the 2016 presidential election of the United States.
In 1961 there was talk of Dick Van Dyke playing Stan Laurel in a biopic. However Laurel himself was against the idea, as he noted that while there was a certain facial resemblance Van Dyke was much taller and had entirely different comedic mannerisms.
On Diagnosis Murder (1993), his co-star (Barry Van Dyke) played a police sergeant (before lieutenant) for the Los Angeles Police Department who was the doctor's son, in real-life, Barry is Dick's son.
He's the surrogate grandfather to all 3 of Charlie Schlatter's children: Julia Marie, Quinn, and Beck Fredrick.
He is a lifelong supporter of the US Democratic Party.
He is a self-described Roosevelt New Deal Democrat.
Met Michele Lee in the movie The Comic (1969), where the two embarked on a lifelong friendship, for over 45 years.
Prior to supporting Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic primaries, Van Dyke had not actively campaigned for a candidate since Eugene McCarthy in 1968.
Strongly opposed US involvement in the Vietnam War.
In November 2010, Van Dyke was guest on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (2005) and claimed that "years ago," he had fallen asleep on a surfboard and drifted out to sea so far that could not see land and that he had been rescued by a pod of porpoises that had pushed him all the way back to shore.