Dick Van Dyke’s new memoir: a review

Dick Van Dyke came out with his memoir My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business not long ago. It’s a quick read because the narrative is engaging and the content of Dick’s life is, well, interesting. I have long been a fan of this man whom Craig Ferguson calls a “National Treasure.”  I remember as a child watching Van Dyke dance his legs off in “Step in Time” in Mary Poppins and I wanted so badly to be a dancing chimney sweep just like him.  And when my middle school performed Bye Bye Birdie, we took time to watch the movie version, which starred an enthusiastic Van Dyke and his optimistic song, “Put on a Happy Face.”

It was fun to read all about his simple beginnings, his time in the military (shortly after WWII), and his rise to fame as a comedian, entertainer, singer, dancer, actor, and overall showman.

He is very humble throughout the book, giving credit to many people with whom he worked – especially Carl Reiner, who was the brains and playwright behind the famous Dick Van Dyke Show.

He admits that his book is not “juicy” in the sense of uncovering some deep dark secret about his life or the lives of others.  He speaks frankly about his struggle with alcoholism (which was already public knowledge before the book came out) and his unfortunate divorce with his wife of 35 years (and the mother of his children).

He also talks openly about his Christian faith and his regard for good theology, including the works of (one of my favorites also) Deitrich Bonhoeffer.  He also said that he generally insisted in being cast in family friendly movies and productions (which he more or less stuck to his whole career) because he wanted to do movies and shows that his own kids could watch.  I admire that example and standard.

Thank you, Dick Van Dyke, for giving us great entertainment.


Popular Posts

  • “Holy Fools”: Exploring the Journey of Calling for Christian Variety Performers

    I am happy to announce that my PhD dissertation has been published to ProQuest, an academic database for published research. I have made the dissertation open source, which means anyone anywhere can access the full content free of charge. Here is the full dissertation: Please share far and wide. I am very much excited…

  • The Easiest Large Group Game Ever
    The Easiest Large Group Game Ever

    This is probably the easiest large group game ever invented.  If you can think of an easier one, please let me know in the comments. Heads or Tails! This game of heads or tails involves EVERYONE in your large group.  It is actually better the larger the group gets.  There is an elimination factor to…

  • Out of the Mouths of Children

    “Out of the Mouths of Children” Sermon from Sunday, April 21, 2024 Dr. Jesse Joyner *Scripture passages are from the NIV unless otherwise noted. Matthew 21:6 “…and they said to him, ‘Do you hear what these are saying?’ And Jesus said to them, ‘Yes; have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of infants and…

  • Not a Single Bone Shall Be Broken

    Today is Good Friday on the Christian calendar. I would like to share a Good Friday reflection with you. Thank you for reading… When I speak at children’s events, I tell the story of Jesus and his ministry on earth. I point out that Jesus was the only human in history who lived a perfect…

  • From the Lips of Children

    Tomorrow is Palm Sunday, the day of the Christian calendar where we celebrate the Triumphal Entry, when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey while the crowd shouted “Hosanna!” That means, “Save!” The choice of donkey versus a horse demonstrates that Jesus is the humble king. But there is another detail of this story that…