Dick Van Dyke Looks Back on His 7 Decade-Long Career
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At 98 years old, Dick Van Dyke has plenty to look back on from his more than seven decades in show business. The acting legend has brought smiles to generations of fans through his talents on shows like The Dick Van Dyke Show and films including Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. As Van Dyke celebrated his 98th birthday on December 13, he took time to reflect on his prolific career that has touched so many.
Dick Van Dyke Talks About His Long Career
Despite being active in entertainment for over 75 years, Van Dyke says he never expected that kind of recognition when he was recently honored in an upcoming CBS tribute special called Dick Van Dyke 98 Years of Magic.
“You think, ‘I don’t deserve this,’ but it’s difficult to say how I felt,” Van Dyke said. “I came home, and I said, ‘You know something? It’s going to be a couple of days before this actually sinks in that it happened.’ I never expected that kind of recognition. My whole life went before me. I didn’t realize I had done so many things while I was 75 years in show business.”
Watching archived footage and live performances of his most iconic roles brought back a flood of memories for the entertainer. Highlights included seeing beloved scenes recreated from films like Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
Born in 1925 in West Plains, Missouri, and raised in Danville, Illinois, Van Dyke first found fame on radio and Broadway before landing his own sitcom. The Dick Van Dyke Show premiered in 1961 and made Van Dyke a household name along with co-star Mary Tyler Moore, who played his wife.
The series was a critical and popular hit, earning Van Dyke his first Emmy. During the run of the sitcom, Walt Disney tapped Van Dyke to star as Bert in the 1964 musical Mary Poppins. The now-classic film paired Van Dyke with Julie Andrews in the story of a magical nanny, and featured memorable song and dance numbers like “Jolly Holiday” and “Step in Time.”
Dick Van Dyke Has Appeared in More Than 100 Films, TV Shows
In the decades that followed, Van Dyke continued working steadily. He starred as Dr. Mark Sloan on Diagnosis: Murder from 1993 to 2001 and made appearances in Night at the Museum and Mary Poppins Returns. Even this year at age 98, he has shown no signs of slowing down with roles on Days of Our Lives, The Masked Singer, and The Simpsons.
While entertainment has kept him busy, Van Dyke has also made time for family. He has four children from his 36-year marriage to his first wife Margie Willett: Christian, Barry, Stacy and Carrie Beth. In 2012, he married Arlene Silver, a makeup artist he met at the SAG Awards.
“She sings like an angel. She dances, and we do a whole act together. We do duets and things. She’s the best partner I ever ran into. What a pleasure it is,” Van Dyke said.