Dick Van Dyke’s Life Today: The Iconic Actor is Still Active As Ever & Recently Celebrated His 96th Birthday
Jan 14, 2022 by apost team
Dick Van Dyke is a well-known man in the entertainment industry as he has a litany of wondrous talents that he's been sharing with the world since the late 1940s. In 1961, he starred in the original production of "Bye Bye Birdie," and the role earned him a Tony Award for best actor in a musical. That was also the year his series, "The Dick Van Dyke Show," first aired, and it would continue until 1966. This was the show that made the actor a household name.
As an actor, comedian, writer, singer, and dancer, this award-winning entertainer has been unstoppable in paving the way for not only himself but up-and-coming rising stars. With a career spanning seven decades, it's no surprise that Dick has won a handful of awards and has made a positive impact on others in the industry, his fans at home and even his own family.
With memorable films like "Bye Bye Birdie," "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" and "Mary Poppins" under his belt, Van Dyke has become an icon in his field of work and has left many fans and critics happy and smiling with all of his great work. Talent must be in the genes since many of Van Dyke's own family members have proven to be just as incredible as him in the world of film and television.
Van Dyke has won more than just awards in his life, and he is also incredibly lucky to have a beautiful, happy family. He has four children and seven grandchildren, and one of his grandchildren has even begun making a name for himself in the film and television industries.
Read on to find out more about the actor's illustrious life and what he is up to today.
Van Dyke was born on December 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, while his father was a salesman.
Since he was a child, the actor has always loved to sing and dance. Despite this, Van Dyke first considered a career in ministry when he was young. However, as he describes in his book "My lucky life in and out of show business: a memoir," he took a drama class in high school that made him fall in love with acting, and he decided to become a professional entertainer instead. He never lost his connection to the Presbyterian Church, though, and continued teaching in Sunday School throughout his acting career while also taking the position of elder within the Church.
His time as a Sunday School teacher finally had him write a book detailing humorous anecdotes he experienced, titled "Faith, Hope and Hilarity: A Child's Eye View of Religion."
Van Dyke is known for his physical comedic acting abilities, and CBS This Morning described him as elastic-limbed with impeccable timing. Van Dyke told the program, "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."
The actor's initial claim to fame was performing in "Bye Bye Birdie" on Broadway and then in the "Dick Van Dyke Show," but he is most well-known with younger audiences for appearing in "Mary Poppins."
Van Dyke said that working for Walt Disney was wonderful, and the producer was very attentive. "Walt was there every day watching over it. Yeah, there was a spirit about it. Everybody was having such fun doing it," Van Dyke told CBS.
Van Dyke has been very honest about his life, specifically his struggle with alcoholism. He spoke about the addiction on "The Dick Cavett Show" in 1974. "By the time I realized I was in trouble I was too deluded, like most alcoholics are, to understand what was wrong with me. I had friends who said, 'You're crazy.' But it seemed to — it seemed to help a lot of people. I got a lot of mail from people who said, 'You know, if you can do it, I can do it,'" Van Dyke told Cavett.
Van Dyke is also well-known for his role in the children's fantasy musical films "Mary Poppins" and "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang." He was a memorable guest star on "The Carol Burnett Show" and "Columbo." Then from 1993 to 2001, Van Dyke starred in the television series "Diagnosis: Murder" where he played Dr. Mark Sloan, a medical doctor who solves crimes with his son.
The incredible actor has also been the recipient of many accolades throughout his long career in Hollywood. He has received five Primetime Emmy Awards, one Tony, and a Grammy Award. He was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1995 and has his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2013, Van Dyke was the recipient of the Screen Actor Guild's highest honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award. He was awarded the Kennedy Center Honors in 2021.Dick Van Dyke (2016), (Roxanne McCann/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images)
Today, Van Dyke is 96 and has been healthy and sober for years. The performer is still full of life and makes sure to keep up an active lifestyle. In his interview with CBS This Morning in June 2021, he took the crew into the backyard to show them how he does sit-ups.
Van Dyke told the team: "I'm 95, and a lot of my friends won't do these. ... So 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!"
Van Dyke and his wife Arlene performed a song for the CBS crew while they were filming. "I knew I liked to perform, but I didn't know how much till this year. I'd do anything right now to get on the stage," Van Dyke shared during the interview, which took place while pandemic measures were in place and live performances were restricted.
To Van Dyke, age is really just a number. In his memoir from 2016, "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."
"I'm looking forward to 100," he went on to say. "George Burns made it, and I'm gonna do it too." As he reached his 96th birthday in December 2021, the performer seemed to stay true to his words, posting videos of himself singing and exercising on his Instagram.
Hopefully, we will get to enjoy many more years with this beloved actor and comedian.Dick Van Dyke (2019), (Amanda Edwards/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images)
Are you a fan of Van Dyke's work? What do you think about staying active at such a high age? Let us know what you think, and don't forget to pass this story on to your loved ones.