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At 97, Dick Van Dyke Has Brought His Fans to Tears

Most notably for his role as Bert in the 1964 Mary Poppins movie, the legendary and award-winning sensation has blessed our screens once again. Despite being three years shy of being a centenarian, Dick Van Dyke still has a passion for being an entertainer. In his latest television appearance, he drove the audience and panelists insane. Join FactsVerse as we catch up with everything Van Dyke is up to.

His appearance on the Masked Singer

On the ninth season of the beloved celebrity singing competition, the 97-year-old Hollywood veteran created quite a splash. He sang “When You’re Smiling,” made famous by Billie Holiday, while in character as a gnome. Regrettably, he was the first contestant eliminated that night.

However, when the mask was removed, everyone’s jaws dropped.

He caused everyone in the room, including the panelists: Robin Thicke, Nicole Scherzinger, Ken Jeong, and Jenny McCarthy-Wahlberg, to go absolutely crazy with happiness. In particular, Scherzinger began openly crying in the presence of the beloved Mary Poppins and Dick Van Dyke Show actor. Furthermore, his elimination has been hailed as the most famous, acclaimed, and special in the show’s history.

When he was asked about his reaction to being invited to appear on the show, Van Dyke confessed that he initially had no idea what it was. However, after researching it, he realized that it would be an enjoyable experience to participate in. He was also excited about the surprise element of his appearance since he believed that no one would ever expect a 97-year-old like him to be on the show. Like many of us, no one expected someone from his generation to be on the show, so he definitely caught us off guard. To maintain the surprise, his identity was kept secret from most of the crew, and he was led around with his head covered. Did you know that the song he performed was not the original song planned by the showrunners? He was given a current rock song, which he did not know, so they eventually settled on “When You’re Smiling,” which Frank Sinatra had also performed. His wife helped him choose the song, so if you enjoyed his performance, you have her to thank.

According to Van Dyke, his appearance on the show was the most unusual experience he had ever had. He also acknowledged that he had enjoyed himself immensely on the show and was pleased that some of his programs were being broadcast again. However, he conveyed his disappointment with the current frequency of commercials that interrupt the airing of the episodes.

Can’t get over his career success

Working with Walt Disney was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for him, and he felt like he was living out a childhood fantasy. After Mary Poppins in 1964, he appeared in two more Disney features and two B films directed by Walt himself. There’s no denying the lasting impact his portrayal of Bert in Mary Poppins has had on audiences of all ages. Although he no longer performs as the character, he has come to view it as an extension of himself. He spoke about how much fun it was to have little children know him as Bert. To no one’s surprise, he lists Mary Poppins as a career high point in a career that has far surpassed his wildest dreams.

Furthermore, he can’t stand seeing himself on TV and usually avoids reruns of his popular shows like The New Dick Van Dyke Show. This time, it’s not because he can’t get over it—there are around six ads instead, which is three times as many as when the shows originally debuted.

As per his account, the show that used to have three commercials in a half-hour time slot now has to make do with around six, which has resulted in the shows being ruthlessly chopped up. This situation is unbearable for his viewing experience.

When Van Dyke is not busy with his career, one of his favorite things to do these days is to sing duets with his 51-year-old wife, Silver. They recently celebrated Valentine’s Day with a lively karaoke party at their place, which was joined by some of their close friends. During the pandemic, his wife even taught herself some of his favorite songs to keep him singing. And, when she says all the music he knows, she means everything, including the soundtracks of classic movies like Mary Poppins.

He has also stated that he would love to return to the stage as soon as possible. In fact, he is confident that he has amassed enough material to perform a one-man show just for the fun of it.

Dick Van Dyke explains why his ‘Mary Poppins’ accent was “the worst.”

The cockney chimney sweep Burt from Mary Poppins will always be the part that people most associate Van Dyke with.

Without exception, everyone agrees that Van Dyke’s character is British except for his accent. In spite of the film’s status as a cinematic classic, Van Dyke’s voice work has gained notoriety due to his infamous difficulties with the accent. Over the years, Van Dyke has tried to explain what went wrong. In 2012, he sat down with Conan O’Brien and faulted his vocal coach, who was Irish, for ruining his chances of a nice accent.

He likes to make light of the situation by joking that British people would pounce on him like a pack of wolves if they ever caught sight of him. This demonstrated how terrible his cockney accent was. Later, he would even say it was the worst attempt at a cockney accent anyone had ever heard. Van Dyke also revealed that he had lied every time he was mocked for his attempts at a London accent to protect his pride.

He would make up a tale to defend his accent whenever he was critiqued; he claimed that his accent wasn’t cockney but came from a small, unpopulated region in the north of England, where a handful of cockneys had relocated in the 1800s.

Van Dyke has spent the remainder of his life apologizing for his cockney impersonation, but he has maintained a positive attitude. Better yet, the actor now has company when it comes to terrible film accents. During an interview with The Los Angeles Times in 2010, he recalls receiving a British magazine with a list of the 20 worst movie accents. Sadly, but not unexpectedly, he made the cut and came in at number two for having the worst Cockney accent ever recorded. First place went to Sean Connery because, honestly, he always brings that Scottish accent to his roles. Connery cannot completely eliminate his local accent, even while playing such diverse characters as a Russian submarine captain in The Hunt for Red October and an Irish-American police officer tracking down Al Capone in The Untouchables.

Dark secrets of the Mary Poppins cast

All seemed well in Mary Poppins’ world, but some terrible tragedies had occurred behind the scenes.

On-screen, we entered a fantastical land where the beloved British nanny and other quirky characters sang and danced.

But the cast of the 1964 classic was dealing with more than just fun and games behind the scenes, and the iconic actor’s personal difficulties and health challenges were the most prominent. On set, Dick was struggling with alcoholism, which he kept hidden from everyone.

He went to treatment twice in an effort to get clean and sober, but when those efforts failed, he developed suicidal thoughts.

He claims it all started when his family moved to an environment frequented by other young families with children about the same age. And since everyone in the community drank heavily, there were wild parties every night. He told the Telegraph that he frequently worked while suffering from a severe hangover—a challenge when your job requires you to dance.

Thankfully, the beverage’s taste began to deteriorate rapidly. It didn’t take long before he started making progress in overcoming his alcoholism. In 1993, he made a comeback with Diagnosis Murder after finally overcoming his 25-year battle with alcohol.

Julie Andrews – Mary Poppins

Although Julie was a near-perfect Mary Poppins on-screen, she was anything but in real life. Karen Dotrice, the actress who portrayed Jane Banks, claimed that the Oscar winner was a heavy smoker when no one was looking.

She told The Sun in an interview that she used to curse and smoke on site. Initially, she showed respect when interacting with children, but that quickly changed.

After giving a remarkable performance, Julie won an Academy Award for her role. However, her singing voice, which had made her a sensation, was cruelly taken away from her due to a mishandled surgery. In 1997, she had an operation to remove noncancerous nodules from her vocal chords, but when she regained consciousness, she discovered that her singing ability had vanished.

She shared with People magazine that the situation would have been more devastating if it had occurred earlier. Despite the already heart-wrenching experience, she sued the two doctors responsible for the failed procedure. Her lawsuit was settled for an undisclosed amount in 2000.

His Generosity

In his spare time, Van Dyke likes to revisit his passion for giving back. The legendary entertainer was recently seen in Malibu handing out $5 bills outside the Malibu Community Labor Exchange. The Labor Exchange is an organization that connects job seekers with potential employers. Not only did he distribute the cash, he also took time to talk to the people who appreciated the kind gesture.

On the same day, he was seen running errands with a positive attitude at a local bank and pharmacy.

However, this wasn’t the first time the Mary Poppins star has given away money outside the Malibu Community Labor Exchange. During the pandemic in May 2021, he made his first charitable act there. In fact, he has been a philanthropist for over seven decades, volunteering for about 20 years at the Midnight Mission in Los Angeles, a homeless shelter that also provides emergency services. He also serves as the national spokesperson for the Cell Therapy Foundation and the National Reye’s Syndrome Foundation. He became involved with the latter after the tragic loss of Jessica Van Dyke, his granddaughter, in 1987.

For his selfless dedication to improving the lives of others, the Bye Bye Birdie star was awarded the Prince Rainier III Humanitarian Award by the Princess Grace Foundation in 2014. This prestigious honor recognizes those who have made a significant difference in the lives of others. As part of the award, the foundation donated $25,000 to a charitable organization of the actor’s choosing to support his philanthropic mission.

There you have it. It’s now time to hear from you. What other movie, aside from Mary Poppins, is your favorite starring Dick Van Dyke?

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