Richard Wayne "Dick" Van Dyke
is an American comedian, actor, writer and producer who has worked on stage, screen and television.
Born December 13, 1925, in West Plains, Missouri, he grew up in Danville, Illinois. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II
and was made a radio announcer; he continued working in radio after the war, as well as in nightclubs and on television. He made his Broadway debut in 1959, soon landing the role of Albert Peterson in Bye Bye Birdie
, for which he won a Tony. This role, in turn, landed him in Hollywood when a film adaptation of the play was made. The remainder of his career has been in movies and television.
Van Dyke is best known on television for The Dick Van Dyke Show
and Diagnosis: Murder
. In film, he is well known for his roles in Mary Poppins
and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
. He also had a couple of roles for Hanna-Barbera
, in an episode of The New Scooby-Doo Movies
and the Christmas Special The Town That Santa Forgot
. He appeared in a series 4 episode of Columbo
where he murdered his wife, and played an important role in the first Night at the Museum
His career provides examples of:
- Game Show Host: He was the host of two obscure Short Runners, Laugh Line and Mother's Day.
- Inherently Funny Words: Many jokes have been made about his name.
- One of Us: He's into computer animation, keeping a fleet of Amigas long after they went out of production.
- Slapstick: Many of his comedy routines. Van Dyke was, in fact, a master of slapstick, and has criticized some modern comedians for not knowing how to fall properly, which he speculates he will eventually lead to injuries.
- The Von Trope Family
- World War II: He was in it.
- What the Hell Is That Accent?: His horrible British accent in Mary Poppins was vastly mocked, leading to...
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent: In Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, even though he's still playing a Brit.
- Interestingly, he also played the elder Mr. Dawes in Mary Poppins and disappeared so completely in the role that the child actors didn't even know it was him until they saw the credits.