7 Little-Known Facts About Dick Van Dyke
To celebrate Dick Van Dyke’s birthday this December we’ve dug up some little known facts about the entertainment legend that go far beyond his title role on The Dick Van Dyke Show.
He’s largely known for his title role in The Dick Van Dyke Show, but his body of work extends far beyond his run on prime time television.
In addition to countless prime time Emmys and one daytime Emmy, he’s earned a Grammy for Mary Poppins and a Tony for Bye Bye Birdie, leaving him an Oscar shy of the coveted EGOT status (a term used for entertainers who have collected an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony).
Here, 7 interesting things you might not have known about Dick Van Dyke.
1. His parents lied to him about his birthday
Just before what Van Dyke thought was his 18th birthday, he became concerned about the draft and the possibility of being forced into the infantry.
To control his own fate, he debated joining the Air Force while he was still 17 and ran the idea past his mother.
Instead of advice, Van Dyke received a bombshell.
2. He wrote a book on aging
In the followup to his New York Times bestselling memoir, My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business, Van Dyke ventured into the self-help genre with Keep Moving and Other Tips and Truths About Aging.
Central to the book, is the idea of rejecting the limitations placed on aging.
“If I am out shopping and hear music playing in a store, I start to dance,” he writes. “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.”
3. He’s even fantastic on kid’s shows
After winning countless prime time Emmy’s, Van Dyke moved on to conquer the earlier television time slot, earning a daytime Emmy Award in 1986 for outstanding performer in children’s programming after an appearance on CBS Library, an anthology series that presented animated or live action versions of children’s books.
5. His first wedding was broadcast over the radio
Van Dyke was wed to his first wife, Margie Willett live on a radio program called Bride and Groom. The show offered romantic hopefuls a free ceremony and various prizes in exchange for the live broadcast and post-service interviews.
6. His wife is half his age
Van Dyke’s third wife, Arlene Silver is 46 years his junior.
The two first met in the green room of the Screen Actor Guild Awards dinner in 2006, where Silver was working as a makeup artist.
Although Van Dyke’s name carried clout in the world of show business, he couldn’t exactly rely on his star power in his first meeting with Sterling.
7. He went to great lengths to join the military
Van Dyke stood 6 feet tall before his 12th birthday but that height wasn’t always a blessing. On his first few attempts at enlistment in the Air Force Van Dyke was told he was too skinny and was instructed to gulp down an abundance of milkshakes.