Dick Van Dyke, 97, Still Smiles While Using Cane to Walk — He Beamed with Young Wife Who Wore Revealing Dress in 2021

Dick Van Dyke is going strong at 97.

The generous actor has been known to give money and coats to the needy.

Having previous health scares, he tries to keep himself fit and healthy through exercise.

Dick Van Dyke is a celebrated television, stage, and film actor. For his work in the entertainment industry, he has received a Tony, a Grammy, and five Primetime Emmy Awards and was honored by the Kennedy Center in May 2021.

Born on December 13, 1925, in West Plains, Missouri, Van Dyke had a natural talent for entertaining people. Over the years, the actor has dabbled in various genres, from vaudeville to nightclub shows to radio. But the masses know him more from his work in television and movies.

His milestone performances include “Bye, Bye Birdie,” which took the public by storm on the stage from 1960 to 1961 and in a film adaptation two years later. In it, he sang “Put On a Happy Face,” which became a fan favorite. Speaking about how he got the song, thanks to his co-star Chita Rivera, the actor explained:

“And Chita said, ‘You know, Dick doesn’t have anything to do in the first act. Why don’t you give it to him?’ And my life changed, right there.”

He then starred in the sitcom, “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” from 1961 to 1966. Next was his portrayal of Bert the chimney sweep in the 1964 musical “Mary Poppins” opposite Julie Andrews. He also gained popularity for the 1996 film “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.”

Dick Van Dyke, poses as Bert with a variety of kites in a publicity still for the film, "Mary Poppins", USA, 1964. | Source: Getty Images

At 97 years old, the actor has made an effort to keep his body fit. His regimen includes a series of workouts to strengthen various parts of his body, especially his abdominal muscles, legs, and arms. He went as far as to demonstrate how he does it, challenging fellow “old guys” to do the same.

As a young actor, he fell victim to the vices that plague some in the business, and sadly many do not survive them.
Not only is he sound in body, but the “Diagnosis Murder” actor has also kept his craft alive. He is still able to dance and sing as he did in his heyday. His talents were displayed in the recent film “Mary Poppins Returns,” starring Emily Blunt and Lin Manuel Miranda.

When offered a choice among three dance routines, he chose the most challenging one just to prove that he could do it at 92. And the actor has no plans of fading away. He is determined to reach that century mark. Referring to his fellow actor and comedian who lived to be 100, the nonagenarian said:

“George Burns made it. And I’m gonna make it too.”

Van Dyke has shown that his musical prowess is intact, singing with his wife, Arlene Silver. In a video released on Valentine’s Day, they gave a sweet rendition of Doris Day’s “Everybody Loves a Lover,” originally performed in 1958.

The actor is also known for having a kind and generous heart. He frequently visits the Malibu Community Labor Exchange, which is an organization that connects people looking for work with employers. Not only did he chat with the homeless, but he also handed out money to help them out.

Even the challenging seasons and roles, or the projects that had a less-than-glowing reception by critics and audiences, all served to make him into the actor and man he is.
A few weeks later, Van Dyke, who employees have called an “angel of God,” was spotted at the same charitable foundation dropping off dozens of winter coats. He bought the red plaid jackets to be handed out to those who didn’t have something warm to shield them from the cold.

However, the actor has not always been health conscious. When he was younger, he fell victim to the vices that plague some in the business, and sadly many do not survive them. The challenges he faced with his health inspired him to change. Having lived to a ripe old age, he said:

“Had I known I’d live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.”

Van Dyke reportedly battled alcoholism in the 1970s. He was also a smoker for more than 50 years, smoking 20 to 40 cigarettes a day. He said he found smoking much harder to quit than alcohol. The actor also had spinal surgery in April 2011.

Dick Van Dyke photographed at home during a photo shoot on April 21, 2016 in Malibu, California. | Source: Getty Images

In 2023, the “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” star was among the honorees of the 43rd ceremony of the Kennedy Center Honors. These awards are given to exceptional talents in the performing arts. The actor, who was retracing the steps on his career path to that point, said:

“Recognition from your peers is always icing on the cake. How did I get to a Kennedy award? I never trained or did anything. I just ­enjoyed myself.”

Van Dyke was celebrated alongside fellow legends Debbie Allen, Joan Baez, Garth Brooks, and Midori. He and his wife, Silver, walked the red carpet together. The actor, who wore a black tuxedo and a wide smile, carried a cane. Silver looked elegant in a floor-length shimmering gown with a revealing neckline.

Arlene Silver and Dick Van Dyke attend the 43rd Annual Kennedy Center Honors at The Kennedy Center on May 21, 2021 in Washington, DC. | Source: Getty Images

As he reflected on his 70-year career in Hollywood, Van Dyke felt fortunate to have had great opportunities. Even the challenging seasons and roles, or the projects that had a less-than-glowing reception by critics and audiences, all served to make him into the actor and man he is.

His appeal spans several generations of fans because his work is interwoven in the fabric of people’s lives.
One such instance was the critique of his cockney accent in “Mary Poppins,” which some believe cost him during award season. The Kennedy Center Honor was a surprise to the modest Van Dyke, who had no expectation of being recognized at that age and stage in his career. Some would say that, given his years in Hollywood, it was long overdue.

As he reflected on his 70-year career in Hollywood, Van Dyke felt fortunate to have had great opportunities. Even the challenging seasons and roles, or the projects that had a less-than-glowing reception by critics and audiences, all served to make him into the actor and man he is.

His appeal spans several generations of fans because his work is interwoven in the fabric of people’s lives.
One such instance was the critique of his cockney accent in “Mary Poppins,” which some believe cost him during award season. The Kennedy Center Honor was a surprise to the modest Van Dyke, who had no expectation of being recognized at that age and stage in his career. Some would say that, given his years in Hollywood, it was long overdue.

Van Dyke and Silver have an unconventional relationship, as he is 46 years older than she is. But their love story sounds like a fairytale. Speaking about the gap, Van Dyke joked:

“The age difference hasn’t been a problem at all. Emotionally I’m about 13. She’s very, very wise for her age so I’m just having the time of my life.”

At first, the difference in their ages was a source of worry for Silver. But after spending time with the actor, she warmed to the idea of being in a relationship with him. She viewed him less as his age and more as a friend until it was no longer an issue.

Dick Van Dyke and wife Arlene Silver arrive at the 2017 AMD British Academy Britannia Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on October 27, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. | Source: Getty Images

The two met at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, where Silver was working as a makeup artist for five years. The actor introduced himself, and they struck up a conversation. Later, Van Dyke, hired her to work on some of his movies on the Hallmark channel. As they spent more time together, their friendship deepened.

After six years as friends turned lovers, Silver and Van Dyke had a private wedding in February 2012 at a chapel in Malibu.
Silver was there to support him when he lost his partner of 33 years. After a while, they noticed that they enjoyed spending time with each other more than with any other person. Silver recognized that Van Dyke had the qualities she had been searching for.

She described her husband as the “perfect partner” and said their relationship was like a second childhood for both of them. She gets to have fun with an open-minded and enthusiastic partner who loves her. When asked what the best part about being married to her husband was, Silver said:

“Everything. He makes me feel like I can do anything. He’s my biggest fan. He just believes in me.”

The makeup artist reflected that her life felt like a modern fairytale. She went from working behind the scenes at events in Hollywood to getting dressed and made up on the red carpet next to her man. The two have managed to blend their lives, and the people in her life were so pleased to see her happy.

Dick Van Dyke (L) and Arlene Silver attend the 2014 Princess Grace Awards Gala with presenting sponsor Christian Dior Couture at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on October 8, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. | Source: Getty Images

After six years as friends turned lovers, Silver and Van Dyke had a private wedding in February 2012 at a chapel in Malibu. Rather than a traditional wedding gown, Silver wore a simple pink dress from a retail store.

Their life together is full of “laughter, music, dancing, kindness, positivity and joy.”
In September of the same year, the couple had a second ceremony with a marine/circus theme. The eclectic event featured a circus tent with a gymnast in a plastic bubble pool and a hula-hooping bride, keeping in character with the joyful couple.

On his part, Van Dyke said that getting married to Silver was one of his smartest decisions. She fills their home with music and love and is a great cook. Speaking about the bond he shares with his “angel,” the actor said:

“We share an attitude. She can go with the flow. She loves to sing and dance, which we do almost every day. She’s just delightful.”

Their shared interests and perspective on life have made for a compatible union. Their life together is full of “laughter, music, dancing, kindness, positivity and joy.” Silver shares select moments on her Instagram page as well as the TikTok account they share.

Silver has said that she doesn’t mind when fans flock to the popular actor. His appeal spans several generations of fans because his work is interwoven in the fabric of people’s lives. The couple makes their home in Malibu, and the lovebirds are devoted to each other. On playing an important role in her husband’s life, Silver gushed:

“I do my best to take care of him and make him happy. I just think me being here is making him happy. I cook for him and I love taking care of him.”

Van Dyke is a loving grandfather of seven grandchildren. He and his first wife, Margie Willett, had four children: Barry Van Dyke, Carrie Beth van Dyke, Christian Van Dyke, and Stacy Van Dyke. While filming “Diagnosis Murder” with his son Barry, they often had other family members appear on the show.

As he approaches and hopefully surpasses that 100-year goal, Dick Van Dyke will go down in history as a shining beacon of the entertainment industry, a fixture in the history of American culture, and a generous member of his community.

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