I grew up on a steady diet of Dick Van Dyke. I watched the eternal re-runs of his brilliant television program The Dick Van Dyke show. At the same time he was on our big screens in various Disney films and not Disney films.
I adored the man and his ‘obvious’ talent for comedy. I thought, when I was really small, that he was the perfect father and I would set in front of the TV set and laugh at his trials as Rob Petrie. I do have to admit that my understanding of what he did for a living in the show was a bit hazy.
By the time I saw him in Mary Poppins, I knew what Rob Petrie aka Dick Van Dyke did for a living. He was an actor. But like many things we learn when we are younger that was an oversimplification. It was a few years later that I discovered that Van Dyke was not just an actor, he is an entertainer.
I can think of only one other individual who fills the job title of entertainer and that was Sammy Davis Jr. Both men fascinated me with the amount of sheer talent that God or whoever plunked into one body.
Like Davis, Van Dyke can dance, sing, act, do various different accents and the only thing that I can think of that he cannot do is impressions. But he might just be able to do that as well.
This is the man who fought alcoholism and won. In fact he wouldn’t talk about his role of Bert in Mary Poppins because he couldn’t really remember a lot of what happened. Alcoholism is like that. You can function, sometimes really well, but you lose a lot in the way of memories. I know about that because it’s very similar to drug addiction in that you can function but so easily forget.
This is also the same man who, at 81 years of age, did a soft shoe routine in the 2006 film Night at the Museum. That is on top of acting in the film. I don’t know many octogenarians who can be so supple or industrious.
I think it’s about high time that Dick Van Dyke got a lifetime achievement award from somebody.
This incredibly talented man who has fought his personal demons and still continued to entertain us while doing so. He made us laugh in his television shows. He made us smile at his infamous cockney accent in Mary Poppins, and he enthralled us as the crime solving doctor in his show Diagnosis Murder.
I know I keep harping on only a small part of what this talented man has done. If you want to see just how prolific his career has been, check out IMDb or Wikipedia.
Hell, I’d give him an award, not that it would mean a lot, but I’m pleased that he is getting one. I only have one wish.
I hope that he can continue to do what he does best.
- Mary Poppins: “practically perfect in every way.” (gorentals.co.nz)
- Dick Van Dyke to be feted at SAG Awards (variety.com)
- Dick Van Dyke gets Life Achievement Award (hollywood.com)
- Dick Van Dyke To Receive 2012 SAG Life Achievement Award (deadline.com)
- Dick Van Dyke To Receive 2012 SAG Life Achievement Award (m.deadline.com)
- Tony Scott Did Not Have Brain Cancer; Dick Van Dyke to Receive SAG-AFTRA Honors (movieline.com)
- Dick Van Dyke – Dick Van Dyke Gets Life Achievement Award (contactmusic.com)
- Bella Donna: Mary Tyler Moore (bellasugar.com)
- Dick Van Dyke adds 12-foot ghost to Halloween collection (abclocal.go.com)
- On buildings and spaces and Dick Van Dyke. (acejet170.typepad.com)