Born: December 13, 1925 Primary Instrument: Vocal
Richard Wayne Van Dyke born in West Plains, Missouri, usually credited as Dick Van Dyke, is a noted American television and movie actor. He is most famous for his starring roles on The Dick Van Dyke Show (with Mary Tyler Moore) in the 1960s and Diagnosis: Murder in the 1990s.
Dick Van Dyke's entertainment career began during World War II when he participated in variety shows and worked as an announcer while serving in the military. That career has continued with five decades of work as an actor on network and local television, the stage and in motion pictures. The television work started with his role as host of variety programs in Atlanta, Georgia, and his first foray into network television came in 1956 as the emcee of CBS Television's Cartoon Theater.
But it was his role as Rob Petrie on the classic CBS situation comedy The Dick Van Dyke Show that insured his place in television history. He was cast by series creator Carl Reiner and series producer Sheldon Leonard in the role of a television comedy writer (Reiner himself played in the series pilot Head of the Family). He was selected over another television pioneer, Johnny Carson.
Plucked from a starring role on the Broadway stage in Bye Bye Birdie, Van Dyke used his unique talent for physical comedy, coupled with his ability to sing and dance, to play Robert Simpson Petrie, the head writer of the Alan Brady Show. Complementing Van Dyke was a veteran cast of talented comedic actors including Rose Marie, Morey Amsterdam, Jerry Paris, Carl Reiner (as Alan Brady), as well as a newcomer to television Mary Tyler Moore, who played Rob's wife Laura Petrie.
Van Dyke's first major role was on stage in Bye Bye, Birdie in 1960, for which he won a Tony Award. He then starred in his own sitcom, The Dick Van Dyke Show, which ran for five seasons -- in the lead role of Rob Petrie, Van Dyke won three Emmy Awards. He slowly transitioned out of television into movie acting in Bye Bye, Birdie (1963), What a Way to Go! (1964) and, most notably, Walt Disney's Mary Poppins (1964), in which he played Bert, a Cockney chimney sweep, and also played, in heavy disguise, the elderly owner of the bank. Van Dyke's attempt at a Cockney accent was widely ridiculed (especially in the UK), but the film also showed his versatility as a singer and dancer.
After the mid-1960s, Van Dyke was in a number of relatively unsuccessful movies (though one, a children's film called Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, is still well-known, especially with the recent stage musical). In 1974, however Van Dyke surprised everyone by appearing in his first dramatic role, as an alcoholic businessman in The Morning After. Van Dyke received wide acclaim and an Emmy nomination. This film is regarded by many as the best most realistic television film ever made dealing with alcoholism. It is even shown at treatment centers. For those who have seen this film, the final scene is just chilling and unforgettable. It was at this time that Van Dyke admitted he had recently overcome a real-life drinking problem.
His career seemed essentially over by 1990 when Van Dyke, whose usual role had been the amiable hero, took a villainous turn in Dick Tracy. He received positive reviews that led him to star in a series of TV movies on CBS that became the foundation for his popular television drama, Diagnosis: Murder, which ran from 1993 to 2001.
Dick Van Dyke is the brother of actor Jerry Van Dyke. Dick's son Barry Van Dyke and grandson Carry Van Dyke are also actors: both Barry and Carry acted with Dick on Diagnosis: Murder.
Dick Van Dyke and The Vantastix
A vocal quartet founded in 2000 in Malibu, CA., Dick Van Dyke teamed up with vocalists Eric Bradley, Bryan Chadima, and Mike Mendyke to celebrate and promote their lifelong love of singing.
The Vantastix is the result of a chance meeting of Dick and Mike at a Malibu coffee shop. The group that started just for fun has built up an impressive and enjoyable repertoire of children's songs and standards.
Of course, once word got out that Dick was singing with a vocal group, the offers began pouring in. Among the benefits and charity events at which they have performed: City of Hope Hospital, the Beverly Hilton for the Society of Singers concert honoring Dame Julie Andrews; the Hollywood Bowl as part of an evening of TV theme songs; and at the awarding of a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Rose Marie. Television appearances include the TV Land Awards, Larry King Live, and a performance of the National Anthem for the NBA Playoffs.
The group continues to perform at benefits and children's events, and has just released a children's album of all new recordings of some of their favorite children's songs and standards.
I believe that hard work and planning are important if one wants to get ahead in life. That's fine. More important is leaving one's self open to the twists and turns, the wonderful surprises that life has to offer. If you can't bend with the wind, go with the flow, you're gonna miss some great adventures, my friends. These three guys walked into my life from out of nowhere and turned my Golden Years into pure platinum. It would be nice if they did the same for our album. it was created just for the sheer joy of it. I think you'll feel it too.
�� Dick Van Dyke
Awards:Van Dyke received a Grammy Award for his performance on the soundtrack to "Mary Poppins."
(with Enoch Light & his Orchestra/Ray Charles Singers)
Put on a Happy Face
(with Dick Van Dyke and The Vantastix)
(with Leslie Bixler and Chad Smith)
The Girls Against the Boys
(November 2, 1959 – November 14, 1959)
Bye Bye Birdie
(April 14, 1960 – October 7, 1961)
(left the show when it moved to the Shubert Theatre)
The Music Man
(June 5, 1980 – June 22, 1980) (Revival)
Chita Rivera: The Dancer's Life
(guest star from January 24, 2006 – January 26, 2006)
1963 Bye Bye Birdie
(as Albert Peterson)
1964 What a Way to Go!
(as Edgar Hopper)
(as Bert/Mr. Dawes, Senior )
1965 The Art of Love
(as Paul Sloane/Toulouse aka Picasso)
1966 Lt. Robin Crusoe, U.S.N.
(as Lt. Robin Crusoe)
1967 Divorce American Style
(as Richard Harmon)
(as Claude R. Fitzwilliam)
1968 Never a Dull Moment
(as Jack Albany)
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
(as Caractacus Potts)
1969 Some Kind of a Nut
(as Fred Amidon)
(as Billy Bright )
1971 Cold Turkey
(as Rev. Clayton Brooks )
1976 Tubby the Tuba
(asTubby the Tuba (voice) )
1979 The Runner Stumbles
(asFather Brian Rivard )
1990 Dick Tracy
(as D.A. Fletcher)
2005 Batman: New Times
(as Commissioner Gordon (voice) )
2006 Curious George
(as Mr. Bloomsberry (voice))
Night at the Museum
(as Cecil Fredricks )
2009 Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
(as Cecil Fredricks)
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