Dick Van Dyke
Richard Wayne “Dick” Van Dyke is an American actor, comedian, writer, and producer with a career spanning six decades. He is arguably best known for his starring roles in the films Bye Bye Birdie, Mary Poppins, and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and the television series The Dick Van Dyke Show and .
During the late 1940s, Van Dyke was a radio DJ in Danville, Illinois. In 1947, Van Dyke was persuaded by Phil Erickson to form a comedy duo with him called “Eric and Van – the Merry Mutes.” The team toured the West Coast nightclub circuit, performing a mime act and lip synching to old 78 records. They brought their act to Atlanta, Georgia, in the early 1950s and performed a NBC television show featuring original skits and music.
Dick Van Dyke’s start in television was with WDSU-TV New Orleans Channel 6, first as a single comedian and later as emcee of a comedy program. Van Dyke’s first network TV appearance was on The Phil Silvers Show in the 1957?1958 season.
Van Dyke starred in the situation comedy The Dick Van Dyke Show from 1961 to 1966 in which he portrayed a comedy writer named Rob Petrie. Complementing Van Dyke was a veteran cast of comedic actors including Rose Marie, Morey Amsterdam, Jerry Paris, Carl Reiner, as well as television newcomer Mary Tyler Moore, who played Rob’s wife Laura Petrie. He won three Emmy Awards as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series and the series received four Emmy Awards as Outstanding Comedy Series. From 1971 to 1974, Van Dyke starred in an unrelated sitcom called The New Dick Van Dyke Show in which he starred as a local television talk show host. He received a Golden Globe nomination for his performance, but the show was less successful than its predecessor, and Van Dyke pulled the plug on the show after just three seasons.