Veteran showman Dick Van Dyke reflects on lifetime's work

Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:02am EST
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By Jill Jacobs

(Reuters) - From "Mary Poppins" to "Night at the Museum" and his own long-running TV comedy, Dick Van Dyke has done it all during a show business career spanning seven decades.

On Sunday, Van Dyke, 87, gets a lifetime achievement award from the Screen Actors Guild in Los Angeles, just a year after his 1960s "Dick Van Dyke Show" co-star Mary Tyler Moore received the same honor.

Reuters spoke to Van Dyke about his career, his thoughts on today's comedies and being a newlywed in his 80s.

Q: Was it really as much fun working on "The Dick Van Dyke Show" as it seemed?

A: "It was just absolutely wonderful. (Co-star) Morey Amsterdam used to say it was like going to a party every morning. It was the perfect improv group. I think it was the best five years of all of our lives."

Q: Do you have a favorite episode?

A: "'Coast-to-Coast Big Mouth,' where Mary gives away that Alan Brady, Dick's boss (played by show creator Carl Reiner) is bald, is one that comes to mind. I tend to like the ones that I had the most fun on, and I think the one I recall immediately is 'Where Did I Come From?,' the story of Richie's birth, and all the hijinks that happen with the nervous father. A lot of crazy things happened, a lot of slapstick, which, of course, I love to do. It was a farce, but I just had so much fun on that one."

Q: How have sitcoms changed since "The Dick Van Dyke Show's" run from 1961-66?   Continued...

Actor Dick Van Dyke arrives for the premiere of the film "Mr. Popper's Penguins" in Hollywood, California, in this June 12, 2011 file photograph. REUTERS/Jason Redmond/Files