Dick Van Dyke And Celebrity Bios

Ken AshfordIn PassingLeave a Comment

Blogger Lance Mannion is underwhelmed by Dick Van Dyke's memoir "My Lucky Life", in part because Dick Van Dyke is too decent a guy to engage in gossip.  And not just mean gossip, but "inside baseball" stuff.

Well, it's Dick Van Dyke.  He's a decent enough guy.  I wouldn't expect him to give dirt or a deep inside look.  This is what the Washington Post had to say:

His breezy tone also reflects the star’s value system. “If you are looking for dirt,” he warns on page 2, “stop reading now.” And it’s true: The closest Van Dyke comes to dishing is to confirm that Maureen Stapleton and Dean Martin liked to drink. He is also no fan of the director, or final cut, of the 1968 children’s classic “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.”

Of Moore, the most stinging criticism offered is that she initially seemed “stiff and proper.” Swiftly, however, Van Dyke reports they developed a “special timing and chemistry . . . such that people actually thought we were husband and wife in real life.” Indeed, like everyone else in America, Van Dyke developed a “crush” on MTM — but never acted on it. “If we had been different people,” he writes, “maybe something would have happened. But neither of us was that type of person.”

Yet Van Dyke became that type of person: In 1976, amid a long-running battle with alcohol, he left his wife of 28 years, the mother of his four children, for a younger woman, his agent’s secretary. It took him 14 years to sober up, but he and Michelle Triola remained devoted partners until her death in 2009. Comprehensive and spare, “My Lucky Life” deals forthrightly with Van Dyke’s ups and downs, demons and misdeeds, yet still conveys the decency — and deft humor — of the legendary performer.

So it basically sounds like a vanilla memoir, from a vanilla guy.  Too bad.

But getting back to Lance Mannion, he makes a comparison between Van Dyke and another icon of Van Dyke's era: Charles Nelson Reilly.  Reilly not only turned out a great memoir, but he did it in the form of a one-man show… which was awesome.  Here, for example is Reilly talking about his friend Burt Reynolds:


I think every celebrity — including and ESPECIALLY the B-listers — should have a one-person show when they are old and on death's door.  I'm totally serious.  They should make it a requirement of being in the Actor's Guild or something.