Jerry Van Dyke

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jerry Van Dyke
Van Dyke in 1990
Jerry McCord Van Dyke

(1931-07-27)July 27, 1931
DiedJanuary 5, 2018(2018-01-05) (aged 86)
  • Actor
  • comedian
Years active1962–2015
  • Carol Johnson
    (m. 1957; div. 1974)
  • Shirley Ann Jones
    (m. 1977)
Children3, including Kelly Jean
Military career
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Air Force
UnitSpecial Services
Battles/warsKorean War

Jerry McCord Van Dyke (July 27, 1931 – January 5, 2018) was an American actor and comedian. He was the younger brother of Dick Van Dyke.[1]

Van Dyke had a long and successful career mostly as a character actor in supporting and guest roles on popular television series. He made his television acting debut on The Dick Van Dyke Show with several guest appearances as Rob Petrie's brother, Stacey. From 1989 to 1997, he played Luther Van Dam on the popular series Coach.[1]

Early life[edit]

Jerry McCord Van Dyke was born in Danville, Illinois, on July 27, 1931, to Hazel Victoria (née McCord), a stenographer, and Loren Wayne "Cookie" Van Dyke, a salesman.[2] He was of Dutch, English, Irish, and Scottish descent.[3]


Early career[edit]

Van Dyke with Stefanie Powers in McLintock! (1963)

Van Dyke pursued a stand-up comedy career while still in Danville High School and was already a veteran of strip joints and nightclubs when he joined the United States Air Force Tops In Blue in 1954 and 1955.[4][5][6] During the mid-1950s, Van Dyke worked at WTHI-TV in Terre Haute, Indiana.[7] The Jerry Van Dyke Show, which included future CBS News Early Show news anchor Joseph Benti, Nancee South and Ben Falber, was popular fare.[6] In the service, he performed at military bases around the world, twice winning the All Air Force Talent Show.[7]

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.[8] He was also given hosting chores on the 1963 game show Picture This.[6] In that same year, movie audiences saw him in supporting roles in McLintock!, Palm Springs Weekend and The Courtship of Eddie's Father.[7]

Television career[edit]

Van Dyke in a publicity photo for Accidental Family (1967)

In 1963 Van Dyke was cast on an episode of GE True, hosted by Jack Webb.[9] When The Judy Garland Show was unsuccessfully revamped, Van Dyke left the program.[10] He turned down the offer to play Gilligan on Gilligan's Island, a role which instead went to Bob Denver.[9] He appeared as a guest star in one episode of The Andy Griffith Show.[11] He also appeared in a 1964 episode of The Cara Williams Show.[citation needed] Van Dyke finally accepted the lead role of attorney David Crabtree in 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.[6] Though the series was a commercial failure, Van Dyke continued to work steadily in supporting television and film roles through the rest of the decade.[6]

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.[8] Well received by critics, Van Dyke was upset when NBC scheduled the show for Fridays at 9:30pm, sandwiched between the poorly-rated Star Trek and filler documentaries, known as the Friday night death slot, leading to the show's failure.[12]

He was also featured in Love and Kisses (1965) and as Andy Griffith's co-star in Angel in My Pocket (1969).[9]

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.[2] He returned to television for guest appearances on Love, American Style and Fantasy Island.[9] In 1973 he portrayed Wes Callison, Children's Comedy Writer,[13] on the season three episode "But Seriously, Folks" on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.[14] He also had roles in The Amazing Cosmic Awareness of Duffy Moon (1976) and 13 Queens Boulevard (1979).[14] Also in 1989 he appeared as a panelist in the pilot for the revival of Match Game, hosted by Bert Convy.

In 1988, Van Dyke made a guest appearance on Scott Baio's sitcom Charles in Charge as Jamie Powell's health teacher Mr. Merkin.[14] In 1989, he began portraying beloved, yet befuddled, assistant coach Luther Van Dam on the long-running series Coach.[10] For this role, Van Dyke received four consecutive Emmy Award nominations (1990 through 1993) for "Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series".[10]

Later career[edit]

In 1995, Van Dyke 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.[6] He had a recurring role on Yes, Dear as Big Jimmy, the father of Jimmy Hughes.[8] 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.[14][2] He returned in "Thanksgiving III" in November 2011, "Thanksgiving IV" in November 2012, "From Orson with Love" in May 2013, "Thanksgiving V" in November 2013.[2] and "Flirting with disaster" in March 2015. Van Dyke also played the object of Maw Maw's affections on the 18th episode of the first season of Raising Hope.[8] In a December 2013 episode of The Millers he played Bud Miller, father to Margo Martindale's character, Carol.[14] In his final television role in April 2015, he reprised his role as Frankie's father on The Middle, along with real-life brother Dick Van Dyke playing his character's brother.[15][16]

Personal life[edit]

Van Dyke was married twice and had three children with first wife Carol: Jerri Lynn, Kelly Jean, and Ronald.[6] Kelly Jean died by suicide in 1991, following struggles with substance abuse.[17]

Jerry and his second wife, Shirley, lived on an 800-acre ranch near Hot Springs, Arkansas.[10]

Van Dyke was an avid poker player and announced a number of poker tournaments for ESPN in the late 1990s and early 2000s.[2] He was also a four-string banjo player with several performances on The Dick Van Dyke Show to his credit.[3]


On January 5, 2018, Van Dyke died at his Hot Spring County, Arkansas ranch from heart failure at the age of 86.[6] He had been in declining health subsequent to a car accident two years earlier.[10]



Year Title Role Notes
1963 The Courtship of Eddie's Father Norman Jones
Palm Springs Weekend Biff Roberts
McLintock! Matt Douglas Jr.
1965 Love & Kisses Freddy
1969 Angel in My Pocket Emery
1987 Death Blow: A Cry for Justice Bernard Blackwell
1988 Run If You Can Brian
1992 To Grandmother's House We Go Harvey 'Harv' TV movie
1997 Annabelle's Wish Grandpa Baker
Merry Christmas, George Bailey Uncle Billy
2001 Surviving Gilligan's Island Himself
2011 Moon Ring Darrell


Year Title Role Notes
1962-1965 The Dick Van Dyke Show Stacey Petrie 4 episodes
1962 The Ed Sullivan Show Himself 2 episodes
1962 G.E. True Corporal Bailey Episode: "The Handmade Private"
1962 The Andy Williams Show Himself Episode: "Tammy Grimes/Jerry Van Dyke"
1963 The Garry Moore Show Himself Episode: "Dorothy Loudon, Keely Smith, Jerry Van Dyke"
1963 Picture This Host 12 episodes
1963-1964 The Judy Garland Show Himself 9 episodes
1964 Perry Mason James Douglas Episode: "The Case of the Woeful Widower"
1964 The Hollywood Palace Himself Episode: "1.15"
1964 The Cara Williams Show Carter Devereaux III Episode: "Cara Fiddles While Her Hero Burns"
1965 The Andy Griffith Show Jerry Episode: "Banjo Playing Deputy"
1965-1966 My Mother The Car Dave Crabtree 30 episodes
1967 That Girl Howie Episode: "Leaving the Nest Is for the Birds"
1967 Vacation Playhouse George/Googie's Father 2 episodes
1967-1968 Accidental Family Jerry Webster 16 episodes
1967 Kraft Music Hall Himself Episode: "How the West Was Swung"
1968 Good Morning World Jerry Carroll Episode: "Partner, Meet My Partner"
1968 Gomer Pyle: USMC Jerry Ball Episode: "Gomer and the Night Club Comic"
1968 Dick Van Dyke Himself Special
1970-1971 Love, American Style Dwayne Barone/Gordon/John Pettidrew 3 episodes
1970 Headmaster Jerry Brownell 14 episodes
1972-1973 The Mary Tyler Moore Show Wes Callison 2 episodes
1973 The New Dick Van Dyke Show Mickey Preston Episode: "Big Brother is Watching You"
1976 ABC Afterschool Special Mr. Finley Episode: "The Amazing Cosmic Awareness of Cosmic Moon"
1976 Van Dyke and Company Dick Van Dyke (voice) Episode: "1.3"
1978-1981 Fantasy Island Mr. Brennan/Fred Cooper 2 episodes
1979 13 Queens Boulevard Steven Winters 9 episodes
1980 House Calls Dr. Duane Kellogg Episode: "The Dead Beat"
1982 The Love Boat Norman Quigley Episode: The Groupies/The Audition/Doc's Nephew"
1983 Newhart Roy Herzog Episode: "You're Homebody 'til Somebody Loves You"
1986 Fresno Tucker Agajanian Miniseries
1988 Coming of Age Shopkeeper Episode: "The Sopwith Pup"
1988 Charles in Charge Mr. Merken Episode: "The Blackboard Bungle"
1989-1997 Coach Luther Van Dam 199 episodes
1997 The Drew Carey Show Luther Van Dam Episode: "Drew Gets Married"
1997 Grace Under Fire Luther Van Dam Episode: "Vegas"
1997-1998 You Wish Grandpa Max 10 episodes
1998 Teen Angel Jerry Beauchamp 6 episodes
1998 The New Addams Family The Burglar Episode: "Halloween with the Addams Family"
1999 Diagnosis: Murder Stacy Sloan Episode: "Sleeping Murder"
2001-2005 Yes, Dear Big Jimmy Hughes 7 episodes
2004 The District Judge Beers Episode: "The Black Widow Maker"
2004 The Dick Van Dyke Show Revisited Stacey Petrie TV special
2005 Committed Walker Episode: "The Snap Out of It Episode"
2008 My Name Is Earl Jerry Episode: "Stole an RV"
2010-2015 The Middle Tag Spence 8 episodes
2011 Raising Hope Mel Episode: "Cheaters"
2013 The Millers Bud Episode: "Carol's Parents are Coming to Town"


  1. ^ a b Nathan Southern (2016). "Jerry Van Dyke - Biography - Movies & TV". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Archived from the original on March 6, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e Joyce, Kathleen (January 6, 2018). "Jerry Van Dyke, comedian and actor, dead at age 86". Fox News Channel.
  3. ^ a b "Biography – The Official Site of Dick Van Dyke". Archived from the original on August 23, 2016. Retrieved January 6, 2018.
  4. ^ Tops in Blue Our Story Published by Air Force Entertainment, 2005
  5. ^ "Jerry Van Dyke Biography". TV Guide Magazine. Retrieved February 15, 2021.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Slotnik, Daniel E. (January 6, 2018). "Jerry Van Dyke, 'Coach' Actor and Foil for His Brother, Dick, Dies at 86". The New York Times.
  7. ^ a b c Kreps, Daniel (January 6, 2018). "Jerry Van Dyke, 'Coach' Actor and Comedian, Dies at 86". Rolling Stone.
  8. ^ a b c d Kaufman, Amy (January 6, 2018). "Jerry Van Dyke, comic actor known for TV's 'Coach,' dies at 86". Los Angeles Times.
  9. ^ a b c d Nyren, Erin (January 6, 2018). "Jerry Van Dyke, Emmy-Nominated 'Coach' Actor, Dies at 86". Variety.
  10. ^ a b c d e "Jerry Van Dyke Dead at 86". TMZ. January 6, 2018.
  11. ^ Clodfelter, Tim (July 9, 2019). "Ask SAM: Why don't we see the color episodes of 'Andy'?". Winston-Salem Journal.
  12. ^ Humphrey, Hal (October 13, 1967). "Lady Luck Snubs Jerry Van Dyke: Hardly Anybody Sees His Shows". Arizona Daily Star. Retrieved December 21, 2020.
  13. ^ "Jerry Van Dyke shined in these six memorable TV guest roles - 6. The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1972)". MeTV. January 8, 2018. Retrieved February 28, 2021.
  14. ^ a b c d e Romano, Nick (January 6, 2018). "Jerry Van Dyke, Coach Star and Dick Van Dyke's Brother, Dies at 86". Entertainment Weekly.
  15. ^ "The Middle: Two of a Kind Recap – Season 6 Episode 21". ABC Entertainment. Archived from the original on January 7, 2018.
  16. ^ King, Susan (April 22, 2015). "Brothers Dick and Jerry Van Dyke clash in 'The Middle,' bond off-screen". Los Angeles Times.
  17. ^ Kyle Smith; Lorenzo Benet (February 10, 1997). "The Death of Twins Peak actor Jack Nance was as strange as the characters he played". People.

External links[edit]