Richard Wayne Van Dyke was born on December 13, 1925. He is an actor, singer, and dancer from the United States who has been in several television shows and films. His award-winning career in film, television, and theater spans seven decades. He rose to prominence through his radio and theatrical work before landing his breakout role as Rob Petrie in C.B.S.’s “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” a sitcom that aired from 1961 to 1966. We’re glad this legend has lived another year. Join us in celebrating!
Richard Wayne Van Dyke
December 13, 1925
Richard Wayne Van Dyke was born in Missouri on December 13, 1925. Loren Wayne Cookie Van Dyke worked as a salesperson, while Hazel Victoria Van Dyke worked as a stenographer. Jerry Van Dyke, the late actor, comedian, and musician, is his brother.
Danville High School was his alma mater. Van Dyke considered pursuing a career in ministry as a child because his mother’s family was quite devout. During World War II, he dropped out of high school in 1944 to join the United States Air Force. After numerous efforts, he was finally accepted into the army as a radio announcer.
He worked as a radio D.J. in Danville in the late 1940s. He began his television career with a comedy show on WDSU-TV New Orleans Channel 6 in New Orleans, now N.B.C. In “James’ Chance of a Lifetime,” he made his debut appearance on network television (1954). In November 1959, he made his Broadway debut in the play “The Girls Against the Boys.” Van Dyke was approached in 1961 for the sitcom “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” to which he responded positively. In 1963, he received his first film job, portraying Albert Peterson in the film adaptation of “Bye Bye Birdie.” He was cast in two roles in Walt Disney’s “Mary Poppins” not long after. From 1971 through to 1974, the American superstar played a local television talk show host in the sitcom “The New Dick Van Dyke Show.” In 1973, he lent his voice to the final episode titled “Scooby-Doo Meets Dick Van Dyke” in Hanna-Barbera’s “The New Scooby-Doo Movies.” In 1976, Van Dyke returned to humor with “Van Dyke and Company,” a sketch comedy show. He did largely T.V. pictures for the rest of the decade. In 1987, he and his son Barry Van appeared in an episode of the T.V. show “Airwolf.” He made an appearance on N.B.C.’s “The Golden Girls” two years later. He has starred in many successful films, including “Dick Tracy” (1990) and “Murder 101.” (2003). “Step (Back) In Time,” his debut solo album, was published in 2017. He also collaborated with actress Jane Lynch on a duet single. That year, the song ‘We’re Going Caroling’ was published as a Christmas single.
On February 12, 1948, Van Dyke married former Margerie Willett on the radio show “Bride and Groom.” Before divorcing in 1984, the couple had four children: Christian, Stacy, Barry, and Carrie Beth. After that, the actor moved in with Michelle Triola, his longtime companion of almost 30 years. Triola passed away in 2009. On February 29, 2012, he married Arlene Silver who is a makeup artist. He is the grandfather of seven grandchildren. For many years of his adult life, the American superstar was a habitual smoker and drinker. He confessed in 2013 that he had been suffering from neurological problems for the previous seven years.
He leaves high school to join the United States Army Air Forces for pilot training during World War II.
He is persuaded by pantomime performer Phil Erickson to form a comedy duo called Eric and Van — the Merry Mutes.
His first network T.V. appearance is with Dennis James on “James' Chance of a Lifetime.”
He stars in the C.B.S. sitcom in which he portrays a comedy writer named Rob Petrie.
He begins his film career by playing the role of Albert J. Peterson in the film version of “Bye Bye Birdie.”
He wins ‘Best Recording for Children’ for "Mary Poppins."
He stars in the unrelated sitcom in which he portrays a local television talk show host.
He releases his first solo album “Step (Back) in Time.”
Why We Love Dick Van Dyke
His music is inspirational
His music affects those who listen to it. It reminds us of music's ability to bring people of all ages together and experience delight, a concept he explores in his new and uplifting book "Keep Moving: And Other Tips and Truths About Aging."
He is of great service to others
He has volunteered at The Midnight Mission, a century-old shelter in Los Angeles, for 20 years. He helped raise millions of dollars for their new construction initiative, and he is there every Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and every holiday season to bring comfort and cheer.
He is successful in all fields
The A-lister is a comedian, actor, singer, and dancer, making him a quadruple threat. Over seven extraordinary decades, he has achieved success in practically every entertainment avenue he's explored, including Broadway, radio, and even Vaudeville.
5 Surprising Facts
He got his high school diploma late
He finally received his high school diploma in 2004, 60 years after he had left to join the AirForce.
His first wedding was broadcast on radio
He married his first wife, Margie Willett live on a radio program called “Bride and Groom.”
He was 72 inches tall by age 11
He said in his book "Those Funny Kids: A Treasury of Classroom Laughter" that he had grown to 72 inches by the time he was 11 years old.
He was lied to about his birthday
His parents had lied to him for 18 years, telling him he was younger than he was to hide the fact that he was born out of wedlock.
He went extreme for the military
He was informed he was too underweight to enlist in the Air Force on his first few efforts and was urged to eat a lot and have some milkshakes.
Dick Van Dyke FAQs
Where was Dick Van Dyke born?
He was born in West Plains, Missouri, United States.
When was Dick Van Dyke inducted into the Television Hall of Fame?
It was in 1995.
Did Dick Van Dyke have a crush on Mary Tyler?
Van Dyke Had a crush on Moore and influenced her career.
Dick Van Dyke’s birthday dates