Once in a while, there comes an actor or actress whose career weaves so deeply into Disney that they evolve into part of the magical culture itself. A premier example would be Dick Van Dyke, whose career working alongside other Disney greats like Julie Andrews has been solidified in Disney lore, making him adored by Disney fans globally.
The 97-year-old American-born actor and entertainer most notably has worked with The Walt Disney Company on films like Mary Poppins (1964), in which Van Dyke not only gave the brilliant performance of Bert the chimney sweep, helping earn the film an Academy Award, but he also insisted on playing the role of the old banker. Van Dyke’s performance in the film ulitmately played a large part in its resonating success with audiences, immediately marking him as Disney royalty.
Van Dyke’s Early Success
You’ve undoubtedly seen Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968), two films that helped to put the Dick Van Dyke Show star on the map, but Dyke’s film debut came as he portrayed Albert Peterson in the film adaptation of Bye Bye Birdie (1963).
Richard Wayne Van Dyke would go on to enjoy an illustrious career that would span several decades across film, television, and even the stage, culminating in his top-rated New York-based American tv series as comedy writer Rob Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show, which ran from 1961-1966 on CBS with co-star Carl Reiner. Numerous film titles are credited to his name, as well as multitudes of recognition and awards for his work, and deservedly so.
Dick Van Dyke: A True Disney Legend
Although Dick’s work would span a multitude of shows and films, most Disney fans know him as Bert, the lovable counterpart to Julie Andrew’s Mary Poppins. The 1964 award-winning film by Walt Disney, based on characters created by P. L. Travers, would captivate audiences, ultimately leading to a sequel in 2018 that featured Dyke’s return alongside Emily Blunt. The critically acclaimed Disney movie would blur the lines of real-life camera work and animated, making it a treasured part of Disney’s vault.
Right up Van Dyke’s alley, the film featured several musical numbers written and composed by the famous Sherman Brothers, heightening Dick Van Dyke’s impact on the fantastical that is Mary Poppins. The actor’s musical numbers, specifically “Chim Chim Cher-ee”, would culminate into a work of art that remains beloved by Disney fans to this day.
Once, Walt Disney Company vice chairman, and brother to Walt Disney, Roy O. Disney, had this to say about Dick Van Dyke’s performance in the 1964 classic film.
“Every time I see Mary Poppins, I’m amazed at how Dick’s brilliant performance effortlessly ties this film together. After all, it is Dick who first welcomes us to number 17 Cherry Tree Lane. It is his chalk pavement picture that provides entry into one of the great fantasy sequences of all time. And, it is Dick who bids Mary Poppins goodbye at the end of the movie.”
True to His Name, Dick Van Dyke Loves Disney
It isn’t uncommon to find celebrities wandering around Walt Disney World or Disneyland, especially when they possess incredibly close ties to the company, such as the Never a Dull Moment (1968) actor.
Van Dyke’s career would actually start during WWII, when he and his friend would go on to create “The Merry Mutes,” leading to the ultimate success of his Emmy-award-winning variety show. This would set the performer up when Disney came calling looking for Dyke to take the role of Bert in Mary Poppins. The rest is history, and Van Dyke’s love for his time with Disney has never wavered.
For this reason, it isn’t uncommon, even at 97 years old, to find Dick Van Dyke enjoying Disney parks and interacting with guests. Of course, as he’s also a Tony Award and Grammy Award winner, one of Van Dyke’s favorite things to enjoy in any Disney Park is the Dapper Dans, and luckily on his latest surprise holiday to Disneyland, TikTok user @tomasinatatterson caught the famed Disney legend enjoying a show.
Drop your video or pic below if you captured him having a jolly holiday at disneyland! Yesterday was also 52 years since Disney World opened! Credit @alauraimageryanddesign for this amaizng video! Follow & Check out her photos and videos!! #dickvandyke #jollyholiday #jollyholidaywithmary #burt #marypoppins #disney #disneyworld #disneyparks #disneytips #disneymom #awishisadream #disneymyway #disneyvacation
Although in a wheelchair, we have got to say, we hope we look that spry at 97 years old. Van Dyke looked fantastic as he enjoyed the sights and sounds of the Dapper Dans and Disneyland, but he also was captured by TikTok user @magicallymccalister hanging out above the train station waving at guests as they walked by, adding a bit of magic to everyone’s day.
As Much as He Loves Disney, We Love Him the Same
Dick’s career after The Dick Van Dyke Show includes several titles such as Disney’s Lt. Robin Crusoe, U.S.N (1966). Dyke would also go on to star in Dick Tracy (1990) with Warren Beaty, The Golden Girls, and Night at the Museum (2006). He even had a stent on Season 9 of The Masked Singer in which he left judges and the audience in tears!
He would also be featured in Disney’s 1981’s Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream, where Dick gave fans a sneak peek at the work underway at EPCOT. The lovable songbird’s career is dotted with memorable appearances in various Disney and non-Disney TV programming. However, we’ll always remember him as the man who insisted we “Step in Time” and introduced us to Mary Poppins.
Van Dyke, loved by many, adored by all, was officially given the title of “Disney Legend” in 2021.