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Creator / Dick Van Dyke

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"I never wanted to be an actor, and to this day I don't. I can't get a handle on it. An actor wants to become someone else. I am a song-and-dance man, and I enjoy being myself, which is all I can do."

Richard Wayne Van Dyke (born December 13, 1925) is an American comedian, actor, singer, dancer, producer, and writer who has enjoyed a career spanning more than eight decades on stage and screen.

Born in West Plains, Missouri and raised in Danville, Illinois, Van Dyke enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Forces 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. His Broadway debut came in 1959, and he soon landed the role of Albert Peterson in Bye Bye Birdie, for which he won a Tony Award. This role, in turn, brought him to Hollywood when a film adaptation of the play was made. The bulk of his career since then has been in movies and television.

Van Dyke is best known on television for The Dick Van Dyke Show and Diagnosis: Murder. He also appeared in an episode of Columbo where he murdered his wife, and had a couple of voice acting roles for Hanna-Barbera, in an episode of The New Scooby-Doo Movies and the Christmas Special The Town Santa Forgot. On the big screen he is fondly remembered for his roles in Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and played an important role in the first Night at the Museum.

Now in his late 90s, the only things that have managed to slow him down are a lingering hip injury and the COVID-19 pandemic. Even then, he continues to perform a regular cabaret act in Los Angeles-area nightclubs.

Outside of entertainment, he is a computer enthusiast and was a major supporter of Amiga during its existence. He even used his own personal equipment to do visual-effects work for Diagnosis: Murder.

Filmography on TV Tropes:

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    Film roles 

    TV roles 

    Voice roles 

  • WandaVision (2021) – production consultantnote 

His career provides examples of:

  • Cool Old Guy: As one user noted on Twitter, "Looks like nobody told Dick Van Dyke's body that he's in his 90s." At an age when most people can barely move, he can still pull off more than a few dance moves. Here's the proof. Note that when he first appears, the crowd gives him a standing ovation.
    • During their co-presentation at the 2019 Golden Globe Awards, Emily Blunt was amazed that he could read the Teleprompter without glasses like she needed, and declared “You really are Superhuman!” Also, make no mistake—the standing ovation from the gathered crowd of A-list celebrities was not for Emily Blunt.
  • Creator Backlash: invoked Dick Van Dyke doesn't think highly of the 1963 movie version of Bye Bye Birdie, which retooled the script to make Ann-Margret the indisputable star, rather than him and Janet Leigh (succeeding his on-stage Love Interest Chita Rivera).
  • Flashmob: His wife arranged an epic flash medley performance of Mary Poppins hits for his 90th birthday. The delighted Van Dyke loved the surprise, joyously leading the mob of fans in an encore of "Let's Go Fly A Kite".
  • Game Show Host: He was the host of two obscure Short-Runners, Laugh Line and Mother's Day. He also famously turned down the hosting gig on the original The Price Is Right, saying he didn't see any entertainment value in people guessing prices for a half-hournote .
  • Inherently Funny Words: Many jokes have been made about his name.
  • Living Legend: Has become this in his golden years, not many people can get a standing ovation from every crowd they get in front of, including ones made up almost entirely of A-list celebrities, simply by walking out on stage, but he can, after all, he is everyone's childhoods.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: After the whole Mary Poppins debacle (see below), he decided to use his natural American accent the next time he played a Brit (in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang).
  • Real-Life Relative: His younger brother Jerry Van Dyke was an actor and comedian in his own right, and appeared in several episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show as Rob Petrie's brother Stacey. Jerry would go on to become best known for playing Luther Van Dam on Coach.
  • Sad Clown: He plays one in Carl Reiner's 1969 film The Comic, about an egotistical and self-destructive Silent Movie comedian of the 1920s.
  • Scunthorpe Problem: Many jokes, yes, and one rather stupid urban legend too.
  • 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 predicts will eventually lead to injuries.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: His horrible Cockney accent as Bert in Mary Poppins was roundly mocked.note  Interestingly, in the same film, he also pulled off a much more convincing RP accent as Mr. Dawes Sr., and disappeared so completely in the role that the child actors didn't even know it was him until they saw the credits.