The actor has come a long way in 96 years.
Dick Van Dyke was born in West Plains, Missouri on 13 December 1925, to stenographer Hazel Victoria (née McCord; 1896 – 1992) and salesman Loren Wayne 'Cookie' Van Dyke (1898–1976).
According to Smooth Radio, Van Dyke first found fame on radio and on Broadway. His rise continued after he played Rob Petrie on the CBS TV sitcom "The Dick Van Dyke Show", which ran from 1961 to 1966.
He has a flattering presence and is known to be a social butterfly, but the one thing that people don't really know is that he suffered from anxiety. In an interview on Oprah: Where Are They Now, he revealed that even though he was this big star in the industry, he struggled to interact with people behind the camera. The 96-year-old actor said, according to TODAY, "I was very shy—with strangers—I couldn't talk to people and I found if I had a drink, it would loosen me up. The barriers went down and I became very social. That's what got me started."
He soon turned to alcohol to find some courage, which slowly turned into an addiction. It got to a point where he knew he needed help. He said, "It took me a long time to get over it." Talking to the Guardian, Dick revealed, "When I went into therapy, I realized I was repeating my father’s mistakes. He often came home drunk after lengthy road trips and my mother threatened to walk out unless he quit – which he did."
Back in 2013, he confessed to The Telegraph that he found it hard to go through the process of becoming sober in rehab, despite knowing the side effects that came with his addiction. “I was in deep trouble, you get suicidal and think you just can’t go on. It was just terrible."
However, his battle against depression turned into a blessing in disguise. He was no longer interested in drinking, either. He continued, "But then suddenly, like a blessing, the drink started not to taste good. I would feel a little dizzy and a little nauseous and I wasn’t getting the click. Today, I wouldn’t want a drink for anything.”
As for his married life, Van Dyke first got married on February 12, 1948, to his partner Margerie. They divorced in 1984 after a long separation. He also lived with longtime partner Michelle Triola for over 30 years, until her death in 2009.
Finally, he met the love of his life, Arlene Silver. He first met Silver when she was working as a make-up artist at the SAG awards in 2006. The two have a 46-year gap in their relationship, but that has never affected their love in any manner. As a matter of fact, Van Dyke is still young at heart, says Silver.
Van Dyke has been married twice before, but for Silver, this is her first marriage. “I haven’t been married before so it’s wonderful. He’s the perfect human being but he’s also the perfect partner,” she told HuffPost. “I went through a lot of frogs to get my prince.”
As for the nonagenarian, marrying Silver was “one of the smartest moves I ever made," he told Parade in 2013. Here's hoping the two of them get to spend several more years together!
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Scott Dudelson