Dick Van Dyke Biography

Dick Van Dyke, born as Richard Wayne Van Dyke, is an American actor, singer, dancer, comedian, and producer. With a career spanning seven decades, he has made a significant impact in the entertainment industry. From his early radio and stage career to his breakthrough role in the sitcom ‘The Dick Van Dyke Show,’ Dyke has showcased his talent in various mediums. He has also appeared in notable musical films and movies such as ‘Mary Poppins’ and ‘Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb.’ Additionally, Dyke served in the United States Air Force during World War II. Throughout his career, he has received numerous awards, including the SAG Life Achievement Award.

Quick Facts

  • Also Known As: Richard Wayne Van Dyke
  • Age: 98 Years, 98 Year Old Males
  • Family:
    • Spouse/Ex-: Arlene Silver (2012–present), Margie Willett (1948–1984)
    • Father: Hazel Van Dyke
    • Mother: Loren Van Dyke
    • Siblings: Jerry Van Dyke, Leroy Van Dyke
    • Children: Barry Van Dyke, Carey Wayne Van Dyke
  • Born Country: United States
  • Quotes By Dick Van Dyke
  • Actors
  • Height: 6’1″ (185 cm), 6’1″ Males
  • Ancestry: Irish American, Dutch American, British American
  • U.S. State: Missouri

Childhood & Early Life

Richard Wayne Van Dyke, known as Dick Van Dyke, was born on December 13, 1925, in Missouri. His father, Loren Wayne “Cookie” Van Dyke, was a salesman, and his mother, Hazel Victoria, worked as a stenographer. He had a brother named Jerry Van Dyke, who was also an actor, comedian, and musician. Van Dyke attended Danville High School, where he became friends with future entertainers Bobby Short and Donald O’Connor. He was also close with a cousin of the actor Gene Hackman. In his youth, Van Dyke considered pursuing a career in ministry due to his mother’s extremely religious family. However, he left high school in 1944 to join the United States Air Force during World War II. After being denied enlistment multiple times, he eventually became a radio announcer in the army and was transferred to the continental United States to entertain troops as part of the Special Services.


In the late 1940s, Dick Van Dyke worked as a radio DJ in Danville. He formed a comedy duo called “Eric and Van—the Merry Mutes” with pantomime performer Phil Erickson in 1947. They toured the West Coast nightclub circuit and later performed in a local TV show called “The Merry Mutes,” featuring original skits and music. Van Dyke began his television career on WDSU-TV New Orleans Channel 6 (now NBC) and made his first appearance on network TV in 1954. He appeared on shows like “The Polly Bergen Show” and “The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom.” In 1959, he made his Broadway debut in the play “The Girls against the Boys” and played the lead role of Albert Peterson in “Bye Bye Birdie” from 1960 to 1961. Van Dyke was approached for the sitcom “The Dick Van Dyke Show” in 1961 and played the role of Rob Petrie. He also had film roles in “Bye Bye Birdie” (1963) and “Mary Poppins” (1964). Throughout his career, he appeared in various TV shows, films, and theater productions, including “The New Dick Van Dyke Show” (1971-1974), “Van Dyke and Company” (1976), and “Scrubs” (2003). He reprised his role in the “Night at the Museum” film series and released his first solo album, “Step (Back) In Time,” in 2017.

Major Works

One of Dick Van Dyke’s major works was his role in the film “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” (1968), where he played the lead role alongside Sally Ann Howes. He also appeared in the TV drama series “Diagnosis: Murder” from 1993 to 2001, playing the character Dr. Mark Sloan. The series was a spin-off of “Jake and the Fatman” and focused on a medical doctor who solves crime cases with the help of his detective son.

Personal Life

On February 12, 1948, Dick Van Dyke married Margerie Willett on the radio show “Bride and Groom.” They had four children together before divorcing in 1984. Van Dyke then lived with Michelle Triola, his longtime companion, until her death in 2009. He married make-up artist Arlene Silver on February 29, 2012. Van Dyke has seven grandchildren, and many of his children and grandchildren have careers in TV. He was a heavy smoker and drinker for many years and revealed in 2013 that he had been experiencing symptoms of a neurological disorder for the past seven years.


Dick Van Dyke received his high school diploma in 2004 at the age of 78. He has been singing in the group “Dick Van Dyke and The Vantastix” since 2000, showcasing his love for a cappella music.

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