It’s interesting how the lives of all the autobiographies I’ve read during the month of May cross paths with each other. The month started out with Julie Andrews and left me frustrated because she was about to take on the movie role of Mary Poppins and she decided to end the book right then and there. Happily, Dick Van Dyke continued on where Ms. Andrews left off, and I was able to enjoy hearing about the making of the great Walt Disney film.
Dick Van Dyke has definitely had an interesting and lucky life. His start in show business was due to lot of hard work and also being in the right place at the right time. Early comedic television sounds like a great place to be for a budding funnyman/actor. The field was wide open and although Van Dyke doesn’t profess to be good at coming up with material, he is definitely a character actor, and a good one at that.
I liked how he decided early on to only take on roles that would be suitable for his whole family to view. I’m positive that led to much of his success. I recall as a young girl watching many films and television shows featuring Dick Van Dyke and it never would have crossed my mind that he could have chosen to portray unseemly characters.
Because he always played the good guy, I have to admit I was a bit disappointed when he pointed out his human failings. He suffered from alcoholism and his marriage ended when he fell in love with his assistant. I suppose that’s the problem with Hollywood – the parts that are played on screen seldom resemble real life.
While Van Dyke pointed out his own flaws, he was gentlemanly enough to refrain from pointing out the flaws of others. He appreciated many he’s worked with and always had nice things to say. There were many good stories here and I’m glad I had this glimpse into his life.
3 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2011