Famous Folk from Howell County
Dick Van Dyke
Van Dyke was born in West Plains, Missouri to Loren (nickname "Cookie") and Hazel (née McCord) Van Dyke, but grew up in Danville, Illinois. He is of Dutch descent on his father's side and Scottish descent on his mother's side. He is the older brother of actor Jerry Van Dyke, who is best known for his role on the TV series Coach.
Van Dyke married Margie Willett in 1948, with whom he had four children: Christian (Chris), Barry, Carrie Beth and Stacy. They divorced in 1984 after a long separation. Van Dyke's son Barry Van Dyke and grandson Carey Van Dyke are also actors; both, along with other Van Dyke relations and grandchildren, appeared in various episodes of the long-running Diagnosis: Murder series. All of Van Dyke's children are married, and he has seven grandchildren. His son Chris served as district attorney for Marion County in the 1980s. Among his cases was the so-called I-5 Killer, Randall Woodfield. Dick resides with longtime companion Michelle Triola.
In 1987, his granddaughter Jessica Van Dyke died from Reye's Syndrome, which compelled him to do a series of television commercials to raise public awareness of the danger to children. He is still the National Spokesman of the National Reye's Syndrome Foundation.
Van Dyke is also an elder in the Presbyterian Church.
In 1970, he published "Faith, Hope and Hilarity: a Child's Eye View of Religion" a book of humorous anecdotes based largely on his experiences as a Sunday School teacher.
Van Dyke is a computer animation enthusiast and has displayed some of his CGI work at trade shows. This interest is referred to in the 2004 TV movie The Dick Van Dyke Show Revisited, which shows that Rob Petrie has also become a CGI hobbyist. For a long time he used an Amiga 4000 with a Video Toaster for creating his CG work.
As an a cappella enthusiast, Van Dyke has sung in a group called "The Vantastix" since September, 2000. The Quartet has performed several times in Los Angeles as well as on Larry King Live, The First Annual TV Land Awards, and sung the National anthem at three Los Angeles Lakers games including a nationally televised NBA Finals performance on NBC. Van Dyke was made an honorary member of the Barbershop Harmony Society in 1999. Van Dyke has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7021 Hollywood Blvd.