Dick Van Dyke as Bert in Mary Poppins, released in August, 1964.
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Dick Van Dyke
Forecourt Ceremony held on Saturday, June 25, 1966
Born: Richard Wayne Van Dyke, December 13, 1925, in West Plains, Missouri
Age at the time of the ceremony: 40
Dick Van Dyke is the penultimate song-and-dance-man. Incredibly talented, Van Dyke had his ground-breaking sitcom at age 35, wowed the world with Mary Poppins and made a slew of films and a huge amount of television shows and movies. Everyone loves this guy.

Van Dyke's mother was a stenographer, while his father was a salesman. Growing up with younger brother Jerry, the family moved to Danville Illinois, where a high school chum was Donald O'Connor. Torn between wanting to be a minister and wanting to go into showbiz, Dick chose showbiz, knowing that he could still uplift and enlighten people.

Dropping out of high school in 1944, Van Dyke was turned down for the Army Air Force for being underweight, so he enrolled in special forces and entertained troups in the US. After the war, he teamed up with Phil Erickson and toured around the country in a pantomime act they called "The Merry Mutes."

Working as a comic at the NBC affiliate WDSU-TV in New Orleans, he made his national network debut on Good Morning! with Will Rogers, Jr. airing over CBS in 1954. In the meantime, Van Dyke appeared on many television shows, including having a supporting role on The Phil Silvers Show aired over CBS in October 1957.

Van Dyke made his Broadway debut in a musical revue called The Girls Against the Boys for 16 perfs in November 1959 — it flopped. Auditioning for Madge and Gower Champion, who had cast him as the lead in Bye Bye Birdie, he told them, "I can't dance." They told him: "We'll teach you." They must have taught him right; the show was a hit, with Van Dyke doing 380 perfs from April 1960 to April 1961, winning the best actor Tony Award in the process.

Carl Reiner had been writing a sitcom pilot based on his experiences as a cast member and writer on Sid Caesar's Your Show of Shows, and starred as Rob Petrie, but the CBS brass told him to find someone else for the lead. Renier chose Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore. The Dick Van Dyke Show ran for 158 episodes over CBS from October 1961 to June 1966, and has become a milestone in television comedy.

Van Dyke made his his big screen debut in the film version of Bye Bye Birdie (released in April 1963), with Janet Leigh, played one of the four husbands to Shirley MacLaine in What a Way to Go! (released in May 1964), and then, got the part that he will always be remembered for: as Bert in Mary Poppins (which played the Chinese in August 1964), he co-starred with a radiant Julie Andrews in a film it is difficult to escape childhood without having seen.

Keeping on with Disney, he starred in Lt. Robin Crusoe, U.S.N. (released in July 1966), with Nancy Kwan, then did Divorce American Style (released in June 1967), with Debbie Reynolds. Van Dyke had his first starring role in Fitzwilly (released in December 1967), with Barbara Eden, and returned to Disney country with Never a Dull Moment (released in June 1968), with Dorothy Provine.

When big-budget film musicals became popular, Van Dyke was cast in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (which played the Chinese in December 1968), then played a character sort-of based on Buster Keaton for director Carl Reiner in The Comic (released in November 1969), then starred for director Norman Lear in Cold Turkey (which played the Chinese in March 1971), with Pippa Scott.

Carl Reiner teamed up with Van Dyke again, this time with TV wife Hope Lange on The New Dick Van Dyke Show for 72 episodes over CBS from September 1971 to March 1974. Never saying "die," Van Dyke launched Van Dyke and Company but it only ran for a mere 11 episodes over NBC from September to being cancelled in December 1976. Still hanging around the TV studios, Van Dyke made 11 guest appearances on The Carol Burnett Show over CBS in 1977.

Director Stanley Kramer cast Van Dyke against type as a priest in The Runner Stumbles (released in November 1979), his last starring hole on the big screen — television seemed more conducive to him, somehow. Broadway beckoned, however. He starred in a revival of Meredith Willson's The Music Man for 21 perfs in June 1980.

He starred in a television version of Clifford Odets' The Country Girl over HBO in 1982, with Faye Dunaway, and did the Beakfast with Les and Bess episode of American Playhouse over PBS in March 1985, with Cloris Leachman, and tried yet another stab at a sitcom, The Van Dyke Show for 10 episodes over CBS from October to January 1988), with his son Barry Van Dyke playing his son. He played a villian in Warren Beatty's Dick Tracy (released in June 1990).

Writer Joyce Burditt created a character for Van Dyke to play: as hospital doctor Mark Sloan, he helps his police dectective son, Steve, solve crimes. First as two television movies Diagnosis Murder over CBS: Diagnosis Murder: Diagnosis of Murder aired in January 1992 and Diagnosis Murder: The House on Sycamore Street aired in May 1992. This then became a television series: Diagnosis Muder for 178 episodes over CBS from October 1993 to May 2001.

Van Dyke reunited with Mary Tyler Moore for a television version of the play The Gin Game aired over PBS, in May 2003. In 2004, Dick Van Dyke went back to school and got his GED. Night at the Museum (released in December 2006), had Van Dyke playing one of three "old timer" security guards with Mickey Rooney and Bill Cobbs, opposite Ben Stiller's newbie. Van Dyke was cut from the second Museum film, but came back in Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (released in December 2014), and did a bit part as an allegorical Night Owl in the ultra low-budget Life is Boring (streamming on Vimeo from February 2016).

He was able to play Mr. Dawes Jr. in Mary Poppins Returns (released in December 2018) with Emily Blunt, and played Hopscotch the Sasquatch in two episodes of Kidding aired over Showtime in February 2020 with Jim Carrey.

Dick Van Dyke's autobiography, My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business: A Memior was published in 2011. Several episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show have been colorized and have been shown as The Dick Van Dyke Show: Now in Living Color! airing over CBS starting in December 2016. Dick Van Dyke, a living legend if there ever was one, continues to live in Malibu California.
Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood, California. Dick Van Dyke Forecourt block. Executed by John Tartaglia, Saturday, June 25, 1966. 58 x 38 inches.
Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood, California. Dick Van Dyke Forecourt ceremony, Saturday, June 25, 1966. It seems as though Van Dyke had a fun time if it!
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