Dick Van Dyke was an honoree at the 43rd Annual Kennedy Center Honors, which aired June 6 on CBS. The legendary actor is known for his work on Mary Poppins, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Diagnosis Murder and Bye, Bye Birdie.
“The Kennedy Center Honors serves as a moment to celebrate the remarkable artists who have spent their lives elevating the cultural history of our nation and world,” Kennedy Center Chairman, David M. Rubenstein, said on the theater’s website. He added, “Dick Van Dyke has brought us beloved film, stage, and TV characters adored by generations of fans, for more than seven decades.”
But, outside of work, the best-selling author is a husband, father of four – Barry, Christian, Stacy and Carrie Beth – and a grandfather of seven.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Dick Van Dyke Is Married to Arlene Silver
Van Dyke is currently married to Arlene Silver, a make-up artist 46 years his junior. But, as Silver told the Huffington Post, “He’s immature in a good way with the wonder of a child. He’s just fun, he’s open-minded. He’s not stuck in his ways at all. We’re both like children. We feel like we’re both having a second childhood.”
The pair first met while he was still with his partner of more than 30 years, Michelle Triola Marvin. The couple’s friendship blossomed after Marvin’s passing.
“I didn’t really realize how powerful the relationship was becoming,” Silver told the outlet of that time. “I would come over but I didn’t want to bother him I guess. He gets so many people around him I didn’t want to be intrusive, so I would just say I’ll come over after work and we’ll have dinner, and it turns out he was looking forward to it the whole day.”
The actor shared his four children with his first wife Margie Willett, who he officially divorced in 1984.
2.Son Barry was Van Dyke’s Costar on ‘Diagnosis Murder’
The son to Van Dyke’s Diagnosis Murder character, Dr. Mark Sloan, was his real-life son, Barry. Throughout the series’ run he played homicide detective Steve.
Barry was not alone – Van Dyke’s grandchildren Shane and Carey and even daughter Stacy appeared on the long-running procedural.
“I’d work with him any time,” Barry told the Los Angeles Times in 1994. He added that his dad is “the best to work with, very creative. He has a lot of integrity and he’ll work no matter what, including physical discomfort. He set a fine example. We’ve always talked about working together.”
3. Granddaughter Jessica Died From Reye’s Syndrome
“Developed and produced television and radio public service announcements featuring National Spokesperson, Dick Van Dyke,” is listed among the Reye’s Syndrome Foundation’s accomplishments. The Tony Award-winner became a spokesperson for the organization after his granddaughter, Jessica, passed away from the disease in 1987.
According to the Associated Press, “Reye’s syndrome causes severe swelling in the brain and liver. It is found mostly in children aged 5 to 15 after they have chickenpox, flu or another respiratory disease.” The outlet said the illness is tied to “taking aspirin during a viral illness.”
Jessica’s father was Van Dyke’s son, Christian.
4. Son Christian Was a District Attorney in Oregon
Van Dyke’s son Christian was a district attorney in Marian County, Oregon, according to the Atticus Times. He took over the job in the early 1980s.
“When Van Dyke ran for the job, such showbusiness luminaries as Carol Burnett, Mary Tyler Moore, Carl Reiner and others contributed about $4,000 to his $35,000 budget,” the publication revealed. It added his parents contributed about $400.
While he revealed to the Atticus Times his dad was “chomping at the bit,” they decided his dad should not help out.
5. Van Dyke’s Children Have Not Acted Since 2019
While Barry and others have tried their hand at acting, Nicki Swift reports Van Dyke’s four children are no longer involved in show business.
Barry’s last role was as Roland in the 2019 film, Heavenly Deposit, according to IMDb.
“Many of his grandchildren reportedly also have dreams of making it big in Hollywood. Looks like we have a Van Dyke Dynasty on our hands!” wrote Nicki Swift.