Five Emmys, a Tony, a Grammy – and he’s won the hearts of millions. Now, Dick Van Dyke is to receive his acting union’s highest honor: the Screen Actors Guild’s Life Achievement Award.
The tireless actor, 86, who’s as comfortable with doing slapstick as he is with being suave, will be honored in January for his 60-year-plus career and his lifelong humanitarian accomplishments.
“Dick is the consummate entertainer – an enormously talented performer whose work has crossed nearly every major category of entertainment, says SAG-AFTRA co-president Ken Howard.
At last year’s ceremony Van Dyke presented the same award to his TV costar, Mary Tyler Moore, and said: ” I love that woman. I know everyone loves her, but I mean, I’m serious about it. I saw her first.”
In addition to starring on TV’s The Dick Van Dyke Show and Diagnosis: Murder, and in the classic movies Bye Bye Birdie, Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (he also starred in Broadway’s Birdie), Van Dyke has spent the past 20 years committed to volunteer work at the Midnight Mission, a century-old downtown Los Angeles shelter for the troubled and homeless.
He has also helped raise millions of dollars for their new building program and is on the premises without fail every Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and times in between to offer his comfort and support.
His has been a long commitment to helping others. In 1967, he became a spokesperson for the National Reye’s Syndrome Foundation after losing a granddaughter to that disease.
In 2010 was named the first spokesperson for the Cell Therapy Foundation, which is dedicated to adult stem-cell research to fight diseases such as cancer, arthritis, Parkinson s disease, heart disease, peripheral arterial disease, diabetes, stroke and many other disorders.
Van Dyke has four children from his marriage to the late Marjorie Willet Van Dyke – sons Christian and Barry, and daughters Stacey and Carrie Beth – and seven grandchildren.
On Feb. 29, he married make-up artist Arlene Silver, 40 – whom he coincidentally met at the 2007 SAG Awards.
The 19th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards will air live on TNT and TBS on Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013, at 8 p.m. ET.