Dick Van Dyke Honored with SAG's Lifetime Achievement Award

"Aren't we lucky to have found a line of work that doesn't require growing up?'' Dick Van Dyke said at the Screen Actor's Guild Awards this week.

Actor/comedian Dick Van Dyke, who last year presented Mary Tyler Moore with the Screen Actors Guild's Lifetime Achievement Award, received the honor himself this week.

"You know, I've knocked around in this business for 70 years, and I still haven't quite figured out quite what it is I do,'' the 87-year-old actor joked. "But it's been, for years, it's just been full of surprises for me and a lot of fun.

"Aren't we lucky to have found a line of work that doesn't require growing up?''

A native of Missouri who grew up in Illinois, Van Dyke won three Emmy awards for "The Dick Van Dyke Show'' and collected another one in 1977 for the variety series "Van Dyke and Company.'' He also won a Daytime Emmy Award in 1984 for children's programming for an episode of "CBS Library.''

Van Dyke, who lives in Malibu, began his career on stage and radio shows before landing television hosting jobs. He made his Broadway debut in 1959, but hit it big the following year with his casting in "Bye Bye Birdie,'' which earned him a Tony Award. It also earned him "The Dick Van Dyke Show,'' which ran for five seasons.

In the midst of the show's run, he starred with Julie Andrews in "Mary Poppins,'' a film that won five Oscars.

His other film credits include "Chitty Chitty Bang-Bang,'' "Divorce American Style,'' "Fitzwilly,'' "Some Kind of a Nut,'' "The Comic'' and "Cold Turkey.''

He returned to television in the early 1970s in "The New Dick Van Dyke Show'' and made guest spots on shows such as "The Bill Cosby Show,'' "Columbo'' and "Lola!'' He appeared in a string of made-for-television movies in the 1980s and 1990s, before returning to series television in "Diagnosis: Murder,'' which co-starred his son Barry.

Van Dyke has also been active in helping the homeless, supporting the Midnight Mission in downtown Los Angeles and appearing regularly at Thanksgiving and Christmas meals.

He has four children from his marriage to the late Marjorie Willet Van Dyke, and seven grandchildren. Last year, he married make-up artist Arlene Silver.

Van Dyke is also known for his charity work, and he praised the other actors at the Shrine Auditorium for their work and contributions to society. 

"I'm looking at the greatest generation of actors in the history of acting,'' he said. "You've all lifted the art to another place now, and besides that, you're everywhere, you're in Darfur, Somalia, Haiti -- you're all over the place trying to do what's right.''

Gesturing to his lifetime achievement award, he added, "This very heavy object here means that I can refer to you as my peers, I'm a happy man. Thank you, god bless.''

SAG-AFTRA co-president Ken Howard said Van Dyke has had an impact on "nearly every major category of entertainment.'' 

"From his career-changing Broadway turn in `Bye Bye Birdie' and his deadpan humor in the Emmy-winning `Dick Van Dyke Show,' to his unforgettable performance as Bert in `Mary Poppins,' he sets a high bar for actors.

"Stage, big screen, small screen, literally everywhere he has worked he has inspired millions of fans and has had a tremendously positive impact on the industry and the world,'' Howard said. "He is so deserving of this honor and I congratulate him.''

Jacky Tomlinson January 30, 2013 at 08:23 PM
Yea!!! Go Dick!!! I have known him for 20 years and he has always been a great contributor to everything around Malibu, from the environment to the kids!! It could not have gone to a nicer guy!!! We all love you!!
Pamela Conley Ulich January 31, 2013 at 03:33 PM
Bravo! Dick is a Malibu hero who brings sunshine into our lives - whether it be answering questions at a Cinemalibu screening of Mary Poppins or helping open the Malibu Library - his zest for life is a blessing. Thank you for making Malibu and our planet a better place. I agree with Jacky - We all love you!
Paul Grisanti January 31, 2013 at 06:45 PM
Incredibly talented and an amazingly nice human being to boot.


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