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His last singing gig took place on a Saturday night 15 months ago at the Catalina Jazz Club. He packed the house. They even had to cram in extra tables as Van Dyke, backed by horns, a rhythm section and his Vantastix singers, slid through a set that included Fats WallerNat King Cole and the title song from "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

At home on this morning, he and his second wife, Arlene, 49, have already moved through sit-ups, stretches and the stationary bike. Not the recipient. He will often describe his success as a product of coincidence and chance.

How did I get to a Kennedy award?

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You know, I never trained or did anything. I just enjoyed myself. Just enjoyed myself.

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There was no plan. There was no backup plan. There was only a poor kid from Illinois who never took a dance lesson, dropped out of high school and, after a decade of bouncing between radio and television gigs, had the good fortune of being handed scripts that were so sharp a club sandwich could have delivered the punchlines. Except that last part is a lie. The star could play a suburban husband, a frazzled employee or a gregarious party host without changing his tie. He had elastic limbs, perfect timing and the looks of a leading man. A little Cary Grant in him. It was not ideal. As a traveling salesman, Loren came home only on weekends.

Money was tight. He headed to his savings jar to retrieve it, but the cash was gone. In Danville, the boy spent a lot of time at the movies. Stan Laurel, the British-born comic with the bow tie and bowler, was a particular favorite and the young Van Dyke would practice his routines. Years later, after his own rise, Van Dyke tracked down the reclusive Laurel and visited him at home.

When Laurel died inVan Dyke delivered his eulogy with a tearful Keaton sitting in the front row. After World War II, he got a job as a radio announcer and, with a buddy, did a nightclub act that took them to California. That led to a series of small gigs until Van Dyke, now married and with children, bounced from Atlanta to New York, even hosting a talk show for a short time. It was at that last stop that Van Dyke walked into an audition for a new musical being directed by veteran dancer and actor Gower Champion.

But Champion fought them. And in the end, Van Dyke won a Tony for his performance as a neurotic songwriter named Albert Peterson. Of more ificance, Reiner came to see the show one night. There were other married men on TV and there were other young couples, but the Petries were not like them. This showed the work life. They bend in all ways. Van Dyke lobbied Walt Disney to also let him play Mr.

Dawes, the stooped, humorless bank boss. Disney resisted. He told Van Dyke he would have to audition for the role. So he did. Then he told Van Dyke he would not be paid extra for the part.

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In fact, if he wanted to be Mr. Van Dyke took out his checkbook. On the patio out back, Arlene Van Dyke, a makeup artist who married Van Dyke inhas done her best to assemble sitting areas so that people can visit during the pandemic. Her husband needs that company. He finds it hard to be isolated.

He had watched his friends, Reiner and Mel Brooks, adapt after losing their wives. I have to have a partner and I found the perfect one. There is nothing fake about this public persona, though it comes with a caveat. Not everything is for public consumption and not every frustration or tension needs to be shared. Which is why there are no stories of Van Dyke brooding in his trailer or storming off a sound stage.

It was something that he had as an ethic, a kind of friendship ethic, a work ethic. The writers still seemed to be coming up with material for Korman. As much as Van Dyke wanted to continue, he had plenty of movie offers. But what he found quickly is that Bert and Rob Petrie were not easily forgotten. Robin Crusoe, U. In one scene, Van Dyke crawled on the floor of his bathroom, unshaven and crying uncontrollably.

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In the early s, Van Dyke and his first wife, Margie, who had gotten married inwere struggling. They bought a horse ranch in Arizona and moved to the desert.

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Which led to more drinking and, eventually, the bottom. One morning inVan Dyke woke up hung over and depressed. He checked himself into a three-week treatment program at a hospital in Arizona. There would be relapses, but by the early s, he had his last drink. He and Margie would also divorce. He went through the same battle with smoking. A doctor took an X-ray that showed Van Dyke on the path to emphysema, which had killed his father. It did take time to get his footing. A variety show, launched inlasted only a year.

Then, inhe played Dr. He thinks about a sketch with Burnett on his short-lived variety show in I worked on it for 37 years. Burnett punches back and they engage in an all-out, slow-motion brawl, rolling on the ground, smashing into scenery, two minutes of improvised physical brilliance that ends up on the air. He is thinking of that now as the country begins to open up. He would like to be up there as soon as he can. It might not be easy to get the Vantastix, his singing group, rolling right away.

His baritone moved to Oregon. But Van Dyke has been mulling another idea. Just sit in a chair to have a little footage to show and talk about their lives. Van Dyke, still in his gray exercise sweatpants and purple shirt, pauses as he considers being in front of an audience again.

The Kennedy Center Honors will air at 8 p. June 6 on CBS. Reinventing the Kennedy Center Honors for the coronavirus era: A little less glam, a lot harder to wrangle. Search Input Search Sections Menu. Sections Menu. in ProfileSolid. By Geoff Edgers. May 14, at a. Share this story. Wp Get the full experience. Choose your plan ArrowRight. Story continues below advertisement. Updated May 13, The Kennedy Center Honors.

Dyke needs some dick

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