Jerry Van Dyke
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|Jerry Van Dyke|
Van Dyke at the 1994 Emmys
July 27, 1931 |
Danville, Illinois, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Shirley Ann Jones (1977–present)
Carol Johnson (1957–1974; divorced)
Jerry Van Dyke (born July 27, 1931) is an American comedian and actor, the younger brother of Dick Van Dyke. He made his TV acting debut on The Dick Van Dyke Show with several guest appearances as Rob Petrie's brother, Stacey. Later in his career from 1989 to 1997, he was one of the supporting stars of Craig T. Nelson's ABC sitcom, Coach.
Van Dyke was born in Danville, Illinois, in 1931 to Loren (nickname “Cookie”) and Hazel (née McCord) Van Dyke. He is of Dutch descent on his father's side and of English and Scottish descent on his mother's side. His mother is a Mayflower descendant.
Van Dyke began his stand-up comedy career while still in Danville High School, and was already a veteran of strip joints and nightclubs when he joined the Air Force Tops In Blue in 1954 and 1955. During the mid-fifties, Van Dyke worked at WTHI-TV in Terre Haute, Indiana. The Jerry Van Dyke Show, which included future CBS News Early Show news anchor Joseph Benti, Nancee South, and Ben Falber, was popular fare. In the service he performed at military bases around the world, twice winning the All Air Force Talent Show. Following his first guest appearances on The Dick Van Dyke Show and two others on CBS's The Ed Sullivan Show, CBS made him a regular on The Judy Garland Show. He was also given hosting chores on the 1963 game show Picture This. In that same year, movie audiences saw him in supporting roles in the films McLintock!, Palm Springs Weekend, and The Courtship of Eddie's Father.
In 1963, Van Dyke was cast on an episode of the CBS anthology series, GE True, hosted by Jack Webb. When The Judy Garland Show was unsuccessfully revamped, Van Dyke left the program. He turned down the offer to play Gilligan in Gilligan's Island, a role which went instead to Bob Denver. He rejected as well an offer to replace Don Knotts as Andy's deputy on The Andy Griffith Show. Van Dyke finally accepted the lead role of attorney David Crabtree in the short-lived sitcom, My Mother the Car (1965), the misadventures of a man whose deceased mother Gladys (voiced by Ann Sothern) is reincarnated as a restored antique car. Although the series was a commercial failure, Van Dyke continued to work steadily in supporting television and film roles through the rest of the decade. He starred in another short-lived situation comedy, Accidental Family (1967), as widowed comedian Jerry Webster who buys a farm to raise his son while he is not away on professional tours.
During the 1970s, Van Dyke returned to stand-up comedy. He spent much of the decade touring Playboy Clubs around the country and headlining venues in Las Vegas and Reno, Nevada, Summerfest in Milwaukee and in Atlantic City, New Jersey. He returned to television for guest appearances on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Love, American Style, and Fantasy Island, and roles in The Amazing Cosmic Awareness of Duffy Moon (1976) and 13 Queens Boulevard (1979).
In 1988, he made a guest appearance on Scott Baio's Charles In Charge as Jamie's health teacher, Mr. Merkin. In 1989, Van Dyke portrayed Luther Van Dam, a beloved, yet befuddled assistant coach on the long-running series Coach. For this role, he received four consecutive Emmy Award nominations (1990 through 1993) for "Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series."
Van Dyke continues to make frequent television appearances and performs stand up comedy in major venues around the country. In 1995, he appeared in a series of Hardee's commercials to promote the Big Hardee, then in the late 1990s acted as the spokesperson for Big Lots. He appeared in the 2000s sitcom Yes, Dear as a recurring character, "Big Jimmy," the father of Jimmy Hughes. He made a guest appearance on a September 2008 episode of My Name Is Earl and in 2010, he made an appearance on the second season episode, "A Simple Christmas" of the television series, The Middle, playing Frankie's father, Tag Spence. He returned in the third season Thanksgiving episode, "Thanksgiving III," in November 2011, and "Thanksgiving IV" in November 2012. Van Dyke also played the object of Maw Maw's affections on the 18th episode of the first season of the series Raising Hope.
Van Dyke has been married twice, and has three children from first wife Carol: daughters Jerri Lynn and Kelly Jean, and son Ronald. Kelly Jean Van Dyke, who worked in the adult film industry under the name Nancee Kelly, committed suicide in 1991, after an emotional phone call with her husband Jack Nance.
Van Dyke is the granduncle of Shane Van Dyke.
Van Dyke is an avid poker player and announced a number of poker tournaments for ESPN in the late 1990s and early 2000s. He is also a 4-string banjo player with several performances on the Dick Van Dyke Show to his credit.
- Tops in Blue Our Story Published by Air Force Entertainment, 2005
- Press release discussing poker commentating
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