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Dick Van Dyke on Birthday Special, Career and Ageist Criticisms

Dick Van Dyke on Birthday Special, Career and Ageist Criticisms

Dick Van Dyke, our guest on this episode of The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast, is a truly legendary screen actor. An Emmy, Grammy and Tony winner who was a 1995 inductee into the Television Hall of Fame, a 2012 recipient of the SAG life achievement award and a 2021 honoree at the Kennedy Center Honors, he has been described by the New York Times as a “one-man bundle of talents,” by the Los Angeles Times as “among the most likable stars ever,” and by Carl Reiner as the “most talented human being ever put on earth.”

Van Dyke, of course, was the namesake and star of one of the most acclaimed, influential and beloved TV series of all time, The Dick Van Dyke Show, which ran on CBS from 1961 to 1966, and also starred in numerous classic family films, most notably 1964’s Mary Poppins, but also 1963’s Bye Bye Birdie, 1968’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the 2006 and 2014 installments of The Night at the Museum series and 2018’s Mary Poppins Returns.

Last December, to commemorate Van Dyke’s 98th birthday, CBS — the same network on which he began his TV career in 1955 — aired Dick Van Dyke 98 Years of Magic, a variety special featuring spoken, sung and danced tributes to him from various celebrities as he looked on beaming alongside his wife, Arlene Silver, who was an executive producer of the program.

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Over the course of our conversation at Van Dyke’s memorabilia and Emmys-filled home in Malibu, the remarkably spry nonagenarian reflected on his unlikely path from small-town Missouri to America’s living rooms; how, during the run of The Dick Van Dyke Show, he was also appearing in movies and struggling with alcoholism; the good, bad and ugly parts of getting older; what he thinks about American TV and politics today; and why Dick Van Dyke 98 Years of Magic was so meaningful to him.

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