Dick Van Dyke Is 'Glad To Still Be Here' & Keeps A Busy Schedule Well Into His 90s
Nov 23, 2022 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," earning 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 Award 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 appear alongside him in "Diagnosis: Murder." One of Van Dyke's seven grandchildren has likewise begun making a name for himself in Hollywood. Now well into his 90s, 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.
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 the same 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."
It’s clear Van Dyke has had a remarkable career. Speaking with Parade in 2013, the star said that one of his favorite films of his was “Mary Poppins,” and he called it one of the high points of his career. He explained:
“I loved being in that movie. The chimney sweep number with Julie (Andrews) was the most fun. I’ve always been very lucky when it came to leading ladies — Julie and Mary Tyler Moore — people who were not only very talented but very nice.”
He told the HuffPost that he still gets very nostalgic about his past work. “Oh yeah,” Van Dyke said. “I think the greatest five years of my life was ‘The Dick Van Dyke Show’ with (creator) Carl Reiner. He’s my favorite human being. It was the most creative atmosphere I was ever in, and I think I had the most fun.”
While Van Dyke certainly enjoyed spending time with Julie Andrews, Mary Tyler Moore and several others on-screen, he shared how much he loves spending time with his family off-screen. When asked if he enjoys being a great-grandfather, Van Dyke responded:
“I love it. They call me crazy grandpa! I have four kids, seven grandkids, and four great-grandkids. Maybe I can become a great-great-grandfather if I hang on!”
In fact, being such a noble family man is a big reason why Van Dyke picked some of his most iconic roles. “I was lucky to get the kinds of parts I wanted,” he told the HuffPost. “I always said I didn’t want to do anything kids can’t see.”Dick van Dyke (circa 1960s), (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.
Turning a respectable and somewhat unbelievable 97 in December 2022, 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." Here's to many more years of the beloved performer.Dick Van Dyke (2019), (Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)
What's your favorite moment from Dick Van Dyke's long career? Let us know — and be sure to pass this article on to friends, family and fellow "Mary Poppins" fans!