Dick Van Dyke is one of the most legendary actors in history. He was born on December 13th, 1925 in Missouri. Before graduating high school, he enlisted in the military with dreams of becoming a pilot during World War II. He was underweight, however, and was denied his wish. However, they did accept him as a radio announcer, and later an entertainer to the other soldiers. It was then that Dick Van Dyke began to realize his potential in showbusiness.
In the 1940s, He continued his career as a radio announcer outside of the military, and then formed a comedy duo with a pantomime performer named Phil Erikson. After becoming a successful comedy duo, the two went on to tour and even appear in their own television show!
In 1959, He took up acting while debuting on Broadway. His acting was a huge success, and he went on to play the lead role in another Broadway show, Bye Bye Birdie. This sparked a long and prolific acting career, and Dick Van Dyke would later go on to win countless accolades for his work, including four Primetime Emmy Awards, one Tony, and one Grammy.
Even though he is best known for his work as an actor, particularly in the film Mary Poppins as well as the beloved Dick Van Dyke Show, he was also incredibly talented as a comedian, singer, dancer, and writer. He’s known all over the world for his amazing ability to combine his talents as an entertainer both on the stage and on the big screen. Even at age 95, Dick Van Dyke shows no signs of stopping his work anytime soon, and his career has spanned over 70 years!
In public, Dick Van Dyke seems full of cheer and good humor. Tragically, however, this isn’t always the case behind the scenes. No matter how sunny many celebrities seem in interviews or in film, many are still hiding dark secrets and tumultuous personal lives. Unfortunately, this is very much the case for Dick Van Dyke.
Dick Van Dyke’s personal life has been filled with tragedies and horrible struggles. In today’s video, we’re going to take a look at some of the personal difficulties that Dick Van Dyke has faced, including two horrifying accidents that nearly resulted in death! Make sure you stick around, because we’re going to reveal how Dick Van Dyke barely survived a fiery car accident!
Dick Van Dyke’s Struggles with Alcoholism
Dick Van Dyke used to suffer from debilitating shyness, which ended up having a negative impact on his friendships and even his career. He soon realized that drinking alcohol helped to lessen his shyness and boost his confidence. However, what started out as a drink here and there to calm his nerves soon turned into several drinks every night. It wasn’t until Dick Van Dyke was deep in the grip of alcoholism that he realized he had a serious problem. For the longest time, he didn’t know what to do about this addiction. And it wasn’t until he reached middle age that he was finally able to overcome his alcoholism with the support of friends, family, and rehabilitation programs.
He kept rather quiet about his personal struggle with alcoholism until 2016. And when he finally opened up about it in an interview. After confessing just how bad his addiction had gotten, he received an outpouring of support from many fans, many of whom also struggled with some form of addiction.
His Near Death Experience in a Dangerous Car Crash
On August 19th, 2013, Dick Van Dyke was driving down the US 101 Freeway in Los Angeles County. He was 87 years old and driving a Jaguar sports car. In a matter of seconds, however, Dick Van Dyke’s car suddenly caught on fire, right as he was driving down the freeway. The actor was no doubt panicking greatly the moment he realized his vehicle was in flames, but he remained as calm as possible as he pulled off onto the side of the road. Even though his car was already completely ablaze by then, he managed to escape the vehicle without any injuries. He flagged down help, but by the time the fire had been put out. And the car was burnt to a crisp all the way down to its frame.
Ever a comedian, He posted a picture of the burned vehicle on Twitter with the caption “Used Jag for sale REAL CHEAP!!” Thankfully, he was completely unharmed, and even able to find a little bit of humor in the situation.
His Struggles with Social Anxiety and Depression
Mental health problems often end up being even more damaging to people of older generations. Back in the day, there was a lot more stigma surrounding mental health, as well as significantly less research. Unfortunately, many people were never able to put a name to their mental health struggles. And never learned any coping mechanisms to help them get through the day.
At a young age, He struggled with social anxiety. And was so shy that it ended up having major negative effects on his relationships and even his career. As a result, he began drinking to help loosen himself up and become more confident while talking to strangers. Unfortunately, his drinking habit became a problem, and before long, he realized he was an alcoholic.
He became terribly depressed as a result of his alcoholism. And at one dark point in his life, even considered suicide. Thankfully, he was able to get the help he needed through reaching out, and is doing much better today.
Despite the fact that Dick Van Dyke was able to overcome his alcoholism, social anxiety, and depression, he’s still had quite a few other personal problems throughout his life. Make sure you stick around until the very end, because we’re going to reveal how one steamy affair ended Dick Van Dyke’s long marriage. And if you’re enjoying this video so far, please take a moment to like this video, and don’t forget to subscribe to Facts Verse for more!
The Death of His Lover
Dick Van Dyke was involved in a long romance with actress Michelle Triola. The two were never married, but lived together for quite some time. Tragically, however, she was diagnosed with lung cancer, and chances of survival were slim. Dick Van Dyke did his best to remain optimistic for her. But he knew deep down that she likely wouldn’t make it. Once, Triola asked Dick Van Dyke if he thought she was going to die. He later recalled that he pretended he didn’t know, which stated was the “hardest acting” he’d ever done. Sure enough, on October 30th, 2009, Michelle Triola died at age 76.
Even though she died at an old age, the loss was still devastating for Dick Van Dyke. What made the loss even more difficult was that his ex-wife, Margie Willett, had died just one year earlier. It may be expected to start losing loved ones as you grow older, but unfortunately that doesn’t make those deaths any easier.
His Near Death from a Surfboard Accident
Dick Van Dyke once recalled a nigh unbelievable story while being interviewed by Craig Ferguson. He explained that one day, he had gone surfing by the ocean. After a little while, he decided to simply lay on his surfboard, and he soon fell asleep. When he awoke from his nap, he had drifted far from shore, and had no idea where he was! When he looked down into the water, he saw what appeared to be a group of sharks circling him hungrily. After a moment, however, he realized that the inquisitive animals were actually porpoises. And Dick Van Dyke claimed that the marine mammals even helped him get back to shore by pushing him!
Thankfully, Dick Van Dyke turned out alright, although, seeing as there are no other people to confirm his crazy story, there might be a chance he was embellishing some parts of it.
The Affair that Ended His Marriage
Dick Van Dyke married actress Margie Willett in 1948, and the two lived happily for quite some time. However, in 1972, both were treated for their own addictions. Dick Van Dyke was dealing with his alcoholism, while Willett was suffering from drug abuse. Dick Van Dyke felt that he was gradually drifting apart from his wife. And soon became involved in an affair with Michelle Triola. However, he felt deeply guilty about the affair, and finally came clean to his wife in 1974.
Margie Willett took the news badly, and the two ended up living in separate houses before officially divorcing in 1984. Dick Van Dyke would continue to stay with Michelle Triola until his death, but he always felt horrible about his decision to cheat on his wife. Of all the personal tragedies in his life, this one might be the worst, because it’s something Dick Van Dyke inflicted on himself.
Dick Van Dyke’s personal life has been filled with many horrible accidents, near-death experiences, and terrible struggle. Were you more surprised to learn about the fiery car crash that nearly cost him his life, or Dick Van Dyke’s horrible surfing accident? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to subscribe to Facts Verse for more!