Best know for his beloved roles in Mary Poppins opposite Julie Andrews, Bye Bye Birdie for which he won the Tony, and for the television series The Dick Van Dyke Show from 1961 to 1966, his career has spanned over six decades. Despite Van Dyke’s cockney accent as Bert the chimney sweep being regarded as one of the worst film accents in history, Mary Poppins was an instant success and the song “Chim Chim Cher-ee” won the Oscar for Best Original Song.
Prior to his rise to fame on the screen, Van Dyke was a radio DJ in Danville, Illinois in the late 40s. Van Dyke, mostly know for his comedic genius, has also had a number of dramatic roles throughout his long career. In 1969 he appeared in Carl Reiner’s dramedy The Comic as William Simon aka Billy Bright, a silent-film era comedian who struggles with alcoholism and depression. In 1974 he was Emmy nominated for his role as alcoholic businessman Charlie Lester in the made for TV movie The Morning After.
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impeccable comic timing, his ridiculous stunts, and his unforgettable screen roles.
His trailblazing television program, The Dick Van Dyke Show (produced by Carl Reiner, who has written the foreword to this memoir), was one of the most popular sitcoms of the 1960s and introduced another major television star, Mary Tyler Moore. But Dick Van Dyke was also an enormously engaging movie star whose films, including Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, have been discovered by a new generation of fans and are as beloved today as they were when they first appeared. Who doesn’t know the word supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?
A colorful, loving, richly detailed look at the decades of a multilayered life, My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business, will enthrall every generation of reader, from baby-boomers who recall when Rob Petrie became a household name, to all those still enchanted by Bert’s “Chim Chim Cher-ee.” This is a lively, heartwarming memoir of a performer who still thinks of himself as a “simple song-and-dance man,” but who is, in every sense of the word, a classic entertainer.