Guest Author - Edie Dykeman
Richard Wayne “Dick” Van Dyke enjoyed a long and illustrious career as an actor, comedian, and song and dance man. Born in Missouri in 1925, he was raised in Danville, Illinois. Active in the entertainment business since 1955, he became well known while starring in such movies as Bye Bye Birdie (1963), Mary Poppins (1964), and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968).
His television career spanned decades. The first role he played on TV was on the Phil Silvers show in 1957, and again on the same show in 1958. He went on to guest in numerous shows during his long career, as well as star in a number of shows as well.
He starred in the popular situation comedy The Dick Van Dyke Show as Rob Petrie from 1961 to 1966 and followed that with The New Dick Van Dyke Show from 1971 to 1974.
The original show included veteran actors Carl Reiner, Morey Amsterdam, Rose Marie, and newcomer Mary Tyler Moore. Moore played Van Dyke’s wife, Laura. He won three Emmy awards for his role and the series earned four Emmy awards. In the second version, Van Dyke played the role of a local television talk show host.
Over the years, he played roles in a number of television shows before hitting it big again with his long running portrayal as Dr. Mark Sloan in the series Diagnosis Murder, where he was also executive producer. The medical crime drama co-starred his son Barry Van Dyke and included appearances by other family members over the years.
His character Dr. Mark Sloan made his first appearance when Van Dyke appeared in one episode of Jake and the Fatman (1991) starring William Conrad and Joe Penny. Sloan appeared in a number of other TV shows and movies including Diagnosis Murder (1993-2001) as well as several stand-alone TV movies based on that series. He last played Dr. Sloan in two made for TV movies, A Town without Pity and Without Warning, both in 2002.
Dick Van Dyke’s last acting gig was in 2008 as Dr. Jonathon Maxwell, a role he played in four Murder 101 (2006-2008) movies, again co-starring his son Barry. He was executive producer in that series of movies, as well.
In his person life, he was married to Margie Willett from 1948 to 1984. They had four children, and divorced after many years of separation. In 1984, he and Michelle Triola (Marvin) became a couple and are still together after more than twenty-five years.
Van Dyke was a published author, a computer animation enthusiast, and enjoyed singing a cappella. In 1999, he became an honorary member of the Barbershop Harmony Society.
This multi-talented man has entertained millions over a long and productive professional and personal life.