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Dick Van Dyke reveals what's most heartbreaking about turning 98 in rare interview

The Mary Poppins actor is being celebrated this month as a Hollywood legend


Dick Van Dyke at the CBS Original Special DICK VAN DYKE: 98 YEARS OF MAGIC, scheduled to air on the CBS Television Network.
Ahad Sanwari
Ahad Sanwari - New York
Senior WriterNew York
14 December 2023
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Dick Van Dyke is basking in the glow of 98, having celebrated his birthday on December 13 with the love of wife Arlene Silver, family, friends, and millions of adoring fans.

The legendary actor sat down with People to discuss the joys of celebrating his special birthday, especially while taping for the upcoming CBS special Dick Van Dyke 98 Years of Magic, which will feature interviews and footage featuring many of his Hollywood friends.

However, he also reflected on what is the one "sad moment" of it all, that being outliving all his cherished peers and colleagues, the most recent being Norman Lear, who died on December 5 at the age of 101.

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"I had a bunch of friends there to say nice things, but Mary Tyler Moore, Morey [Amsterdam] and Rosie [Rose Marie], Carl Reiner, Norman Lear, all the people that I always loved and associated with are gone, so I'm having to make new friends," he told the outlet.

Fortunately, he added that the idea of making new friends came rather naturally to him. "I'm happy to say people come to me. I don't have to go out looking."

Van Dyke also gushed about when he first met wife Arlene, a makeup artist, in 2006. They tied the knot in 2012 and have since become something of a duo, performing an act together and sharing all kinds of interests.

Top Row: Ted Danson, Mary Steenburgen, Tichina Arnold, Beth Behrs, Jason Alexander, Zachary Levi, Weird Al, Amanda Kloots, Tony Danza, Skylar Astin, Rufu Wainwright, and Jane Seymour. Bottom Row: Brad Garrett, Arlene Silver, Dick Van Dyke, and JoJo Siwa at the CBS Original Special DICK VAN DYKE: 98 YEARS OF MAGIC, scheduled to air on the CBS Television Network.© Getty Images
Dick Van Dyke will be celebrated with an upcoming CBS special chronicling his life and career

"She sings like an angel. She dances, and we do a whole act together. We do duets and things. She's the best partner I ever ran into. What a pleasure it is," he lovingly said.

The Mary Poppins star opened up about how he planned to celebrate his birthday, revealing that he was "not much on traditions, I don't think," but admitted that finding joy in his everyday life was key.

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"My wife brings me a cup of coffee in the morning. I get it in bed. I get treated like a king around here," he shared. The couple share a grand estate in Southern California.

Arlene Silver, Dick Van Dyke, and Rob Reiner at the CBS Original Special DICK VAN DYKE: 98 YEARS OF MAGIC, scheduled to air on the CBS Television Network.© Getty Images
The actor was paid tribute to by several of his longtime friends and colleagues

Van Dyke revealed that he was touched by the grand gesture of the CBS special, and remarked upon the joy of seeing his greatest hits, spanning over seven decades, brought to life once again.

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"You think, 'I don't deserve this,' but it's difficult to say how I felt," he added. "I came home, and I said, 'You know something? It's going to be a couple of days before this actually sinks in that it happened.' 

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"I never expected that kind of recognition. My whole life went before me. I didn't realize I had done so many things while I was 75 years in show business."

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The special, which is set for a December 21 release, was announced last month. And the actor himself shared in a statement: "I started with CBS under contract in 1955 with the CBS morning show, then The Dick Van Dyke Show and Diagnosis: Murder

Dick Van Dyke, US actor, poses with a variety of kites in a publicity still for the film, 'Mary Poppins', USA, 1964. The film musical, directed by Robert Stevenson, starred Van Dyke as 'Bert'.© Getty Images
"I'm incredibly honored that CBS will be throwing a 98th birthday special for me. Can't wait to be part of the show!"

"I've been with the CBS family for almost 70 years, and I couldn't be prouder. I'm incredibly honored that CBS will be throwing a 98th birthday special for me. Can't wait to be part of the show!"

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