Dick Van Dyke Is All Smiles At 97 – He Donates To The Needy, Dotes On Wife & Uses A Cane Happily

Jan 30, 2023 by apost team

Actor Dick Van Dyke has been a long-standing industry treasure since he first graced our screens in the 1940s. Memorably, he starred in the original 1961 production of "Bye Bye Birdie," which earned him a Tony Award. Van Dyke also starred in his series, "The Dick Van Dyke Show," which ran throughout the early '60s, making the actor a television staple in households across the country. Audiences would later see Van Dyke perform in such classics as "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" and "Mary Poppins," two roles that endeared him to a generation of children. 

Van Dyke's career would go on to span a staggering seven decades, with the seasoned actor continuing to work well into his golden years. Over time, this dedication to his craft earned Van Dyke countless awards, including five Primetime Emmy Awards, one Tony and a Grammy Award. Additionally, Van Dyke was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1995 and was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1993. In 2013, Van Dyke received the Screen Actor Guild's highest honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award. He was also awarded the illustrious Kennedy Center Honors in 2021. 

A dedicated family man, Van Dyke has made a tradition of integrating his family into his onscreen life. Several of his children appeared alongside him in "Diagnosis: Murder." One of Van Dyke's seven grandchildren has likewise begun making a name for himself in Hollywood. Now, at 97, Van Dyke is still setting the example for this new generation, continuing to share his life with both his loved ones and his lifelong audience. 

Mary Tyler Moore, Dick Van Dyke (1965), (Bettmann/Getty Images)

Van Dyke was born on Dec. 13, 1925, in West Plains, Missouri. He grew up in Danville, Illinois, and is the son of Hazel Victoria and Loren Wayne "Cookie" Van Dyke. His mother was a stenographer, and his father was a salesman. 

When he was young, Van Dyke first considered a career in ministry. However, he took a drama class in high school that made him fall in love with acting. Van Dyke then decided to become a professional entertainer, having always loved singing and dancing since he was a child. 

As a performer, Van Dyke is known for his physical comedic acting abilities, having been described as elastic-limbed with impeccable timing. On his characteristic talents, Van Dyke said:

"I had always been an admirer of Buster Keaton and Laurel and Hardy. So as a kid I practiced falling. And I had worked it all out."

In an interview, Van Dyke took a camera crew into his backyard to show his audience how he does sit-ups. Explaining his actions for his older viewers, Van Dyke said: "All you old guys out there, listen to me, I'm telling you: You can keep going for a long time — I'm still dancing! And singing!"

A 2019 feature reported that the actor was still visiting the gym, going up to three times a week. "I've always been an exerciser and still am… I get in the pool and exercise," Van Dyke said. "At my age, they say to keep moving. Put me on solid ground and I'll start tapping."


Dick Van Dyke (circa 1960), (Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Now in his 90s, Van Dyke has managed to remain healthy and has been sober for years. While he may not be tap dancing across a landscape of London's chimneys these days, his physical abilities are nevertheless an inspiration. Especially in an industry that favors young actors with Marvel-ous bodies. However, for Van Dyke, this adherence to fitness doesn't seem to stem from some drive to stay relevant. Rather, the actor simply seems to never run out of batteries. 

In his 2015 memoir, "Keep Moving: And Other Tips and Truths About Living Well Longer," Van Dyke wrote:

"If I am out shopping and hear music playing in a store, I start to dance. If I want to sing, I sing. I read books and get excited about new ideas. I enjoy myself. I don't think about the way I am supposed to act at my age — or at any age."  

Van Dyke proved the truth in his statement when he was spotted engaging with some fans in Malibu, California, in mid-June 2022. The still spry star appeared to be in good spirits and happy to still be moving and grooving, despite his decades on the dancefloor. "I'm just glad to still be here," he chimed, wiggling around as if still in his prime. 

At a respectable and somewhat unbelievable 97, Van Dyke shows no signs of slowing down. "I'm looking forward to 100," he told reporters. "George Burns made it, and I'm gonna do it too."

Dick Van Dyke, Arlene Silver (2016), (Roxanne McCann/Getty Images)

Van Dyke is also tremendously charitable. In October 2022, he was seen offering money to job seekers and speaking to the homeless at the Malibu Community Labor Exchange. “Just call him angel from God,” one of the recipients said. A few weeks later, Van Dyke donated warm winter coats at the same non-profit.

This generosity of spirit is perhaps part of the reason Van Dyke was able to find love again later in life. He married Arlene Silver on Feb. 29, 2012, after meeting her six years prior. Van Dyke was 86 at the time, while Silver – a make-up artist – was 40. Van Dyke told Parade in 2013 marrying Silver was “one of the smartest moves I ever made.”

Silver, too, appeared smitten with her partner, as she said: “He's just fun, he's open-minded. He's not stuck in his ways at all. We're both like children. We feel like we're both having a second childhood.”

For Valentine's Day in 2022, the happy couple celebrated their love by singing and dancing along to "Everybody Loves a Lover" by Doris Day. In June 2021, Silver was by Van Dyke’s side as he, while using a walking cane, was one of 43 honorees of that year’s Kennedy Center Honors.

“Recognition from your peers is always icing on the cake. How did I get to a Kennedy award? I never trained or did anything. I just ­enjoyed myself,” he later told The Mirror, joking his next goal was to attain “knighthood.”

On Jan. 16, 2023, fans were treated to a rare YouTube video from Van Dyke, who wanted to share a Rod Serling speech he found timely. Viewers were warmed by his reading, as one commented:

“Mr Van Dyke, what an honour to hear your voice, you’re a world treasure.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Dick Van Dyke (2018), (Rich Fury/Getty Images)

What's your favorite moment from Van Dyke's long career? Did you know he was happily remarried? Let us know — and be sure to pass this article on to friends, family and fellow "Mary Poppins" fans!

Please scroll below for more stories :-)