DICK VAN DYKE
Date of Birth: December 13, 1925
In 1955 Dick Van Dyke hosted The CBS Morning Show in New York, with Walter Cronkite as news anchor and Barbara Walters as news copywriter. Concurrently, he landed a spot in a Broadway revue called The Boys Against the Girls.
Director/choreographer Gower Champion saw the show and signed Van Dyke to play a lead in Bye Bye Birdie, for which he won a Tony award. Not long after, Carl Reiner and Sheldon Leonard chose Van Dyke to star in a comedy series that became The Dick Van Dyke Show. Premiering in 1961 and co-starring Mary Tyler Moore, the show was a huge hit that ran for five seasons, earning Van Dyke three Emmy Awards.
During breaks from the series, he starred in the film version of Bye Bye Birdie (1963) and the Disney classic Mary Poppins (1964). Other features included Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968), The Comic (1969), Some Kind of a Nut (1969), The Runner Stumbles (1979) and Dick Tracy (1990).
In 1971 his new show, The New Dick Van Dyke Show, hit the airwaves. Produced at the Van Dykes' ranch in Carefree, Arizona, it ran for three seasons.
Van Dyke returned to the theater for a revival of The Music Man, touring before taking it to Broadway. The following year he toured in Damn Yankees.
His awards and honors include Dance Legend of the Year Award from the Professional Dancers Society of America; the 1998 Disney Legend Award; a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Comedy Awards; and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1995 he was inducted into the Television Academy Walk of Fame.
Playing Mark Sloane, the crime-solving MD, he was introduced in an episode of Jake and the Fat Man, then the character branched out into several TV movies and the long-running CBS series Diagnosis Murder (1993 to 2001), followed by two Dr. Sloane movies in 2002. His son, Barry Van Dyke, co-starred in the series as Detective Steve Sloan. His grandson, Shane Van Dyke, also played a recurring role.
In 2003, Van Dyke reunited with Mary Tyler Moore to play two lonely retirees in the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, The Gin Game, on PBS Hollywood Theater. The following year they were together again as Rob and Laura Petrie in Dick Van Dyke Revisited.
Though he's been threatening to retire for the past 20 years, Van Dyke returned to Broadway in January 2006 to sing and dance in four performances of Chita Rivera: A Dancers Life. The same year, his Hallmark movie, Murder 101, aired; he voiced Mr. Bloomsbury in the animated feature Curious George (2006) and played Cecil in Night at the Museum (2006) opposite Ben Stiller. He also plays a lead role in the comedy Furry Vengeance, opposite Brendan Fraser.
Van Dyke serves as fund-raising chairman for the Midnight Mission in Los Angeles and was recently awarded the Golden Heart Award for his charitable service and giving.
Born in West Plains, Missouri, Van Dyke, who overcame alcoholism in the 1970s, has four children with his ex-wife, Margie Willett. They divorced in 1984 after being married for 36 years.