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Dick Van Dyke, indisputably one of the greats of the golden age of television, is admired and beloved by audiences the world over for his beaming smile, his physical dexterity, his impeccable comic timing, his ridiculous stunts, and his unforgettable screen roles.             His trailblazing television program, The Dick Van Dyke Show (produced by Carl Reiner, who has wri Dick Van Dyke, indisputably one of the greats of the golden age of television, is admired and beloved by audiences the world over for his beaming smile, his physical dexterity, his impeccable comic timing, his ridiculous stunts, and his unforgettable screen roles.             His trailblazing television program, The Dick Van Dyke Show (produced by Carl Reiner, who has written the foreword to this memoir), was one of the most popular sitcoms of the 1960s and introduced another major television star, Mary Tyler Moore. But Dick Van Dyke was also an enormously engaging movie star whose films, including Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, have been discovered by a new generation of fans and are as beloved today as they were when they first appeared. Who doesn’t know the word supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?             A colorful, loving, richly detailed look at the decades of a multilayered life, My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business, will enthrall every generation of reader, from baby-boomers who recall when Rob Petrie became a household name, to all those still enchanted by Bert’s “Chim Chim Cher-ee.” This is a lively, heartwarming memoir of a performer who still thinks of himself as a “simple song-and-dance man,” but who is, in every sense of the word, a classic entertainer. From the Hardcover edition.


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Dick Van Dyke, indisputably one of the greats of the golden age of television, is admired and beloved by audiences the world over for his beaming smile, his physical dexterity, his impeccable comic timing, his ridiculous stunts, and his unforgettable screen roles.             His trailblazing television program, The Dick Van Dyke Show (produced by Carl Reiner, who has wri Dick Van Dyke, indisputably one of the greats of the golden age of television, is admired and beloved by audiences the world over for his beaming smile, his physical dexterity, his impeccable comic timing, his ridiculous stunts, and his unforgettable screen roles.             His trailblazing television program, The Dick Van Dyke Show (produced by Carl Reiner, who has written the foreword to this memoir), was one of the most popular sitcoms of the 1960s and introduced another major television star, Mary Tyler Moore. But Dick Van Dyke was also an enormously engaging movie star whose films, including Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, have been discovered by a new generation of fans and are as beloved today as they were when they first appeared. Who doesn’t know the word supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?             A colorful, loving, richly detailed look at the decades of a multilayered life, My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business, will enthrall every generation of reader, from baby-boomers who recall when Rob Petrie became a household name, to all those still enchanted by Bert’s “Chim Chim Cher-ee.” This is a lively, heartwarming memoir of a performer who still thinks of himself as a “simple song-and-dance man,” but who is, in every sense of the word, a classic entertainer. From the Hardcover edition.

30 review for My Lucky Life in and Out of Show Business

  1. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    I'm a big fan of Dick Van Dyke. Whenever I'm sick I watch The Dick Van Dyke Show and it makes me feel better. Growing up I would watch Diagnosis Murder with my mom and grandma. Dick Van Dyke has just always been a comfortable and family friendly tv star. I've never really given much thought to Mr. Van Dyke's personal life. Before reading this book the only thing I knew about his life was that his son Barry starred along side him on Diagnosis Murder. If not for my bookclub I don't think I would h I'm a big fan of Dick Van Dyke. Whenever I'm sick I watch The Dick Van Dyke Show and it makes me feel better. Growing up I would watch Diagnosis Murder with my mom and grandma. Dick Van Dyke has just always been a comfortable and family friendly tv star. I've never really given much thought to Mr. Van Dyke's personal life. Before reading this book the only thing I knew about his life was that his son Barry starred along side him on Diagnosis Murder. If not for my bookclub I don't think I would have ever cared to read about him. He's just not someone who's personal life I was ever interested in. I'm glad I read My Lucky Life In And Out Of Show Business but I don't feel as though I learned all that much about him. He let's us know from the jump that we won't be getting any gossip but I didn't feel like we got any substance either. He breezes past his decades long battle with alcoholism and makes his years long extramarital affair seem G-Rated and quaint. The most heartbreaking story in the whole book is about his monkey costar ( It is a really sad story and I don't even like animals). I think I would have enjoyed this book far more had he dug a little deeper. It was just a little too sanitized. I still enjoyed this book, its a quick and sugary read. If you're looking for a light fun read this book is for you but if you like your memoir/ biographies to have a harder edge I'd skip this one. Read for The Silver Screen Book Club.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Richard Derus

    I haven't read this book. I won't, in all likelihood, ever read it. But I grew up loving The Dick Van Dyke Show, and Mary Poppins, and and and... But my coming here, finding this book, and rating it was in service of bringing the following quote to Van Dyke's legions of mildly interested fans: In July 2016, Van Dyke said of Donald Trump, "He has been a magnet to all the racists and xenophobes in the country, I haven't been this scared since the Cuban Missile Crisis. I think the human race is hangi I haven't read this book. I won't, in all likelihood, ever read it. But I grew up loving The Dick Van Dyke Show, and Mary Poppins, and and and... But my coming here, finding this book, and rating it was in service of bringing the following quote to Van Dyke's legions of mildly interested fans: In July 2016, Van Dyke said of Donald Trump, "He has been a magnet to all the racists and xenophobes in the country, I haven't been this scared since the Cuban Missile Crisis. I think the human race is hanging in a delicate balance right now, and I'm just so afraid he will put us in a war. He scares me." Mr. Van Dyke/Dr. Sloan/Mr. Petrie, I salute you.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    I had every intention of writing my review the minute I finished this book, but it didn’t happen. In point of fact I put it aside, picking up my daughter and withdrew to the living where we turned on Mary Poppins. Watching her giggle and bounce to the music warmed my heart, but the insight offered by his biography made Van Dyke’s performance all the more endearing. Van Dyke's dedication to family friendly entertainment is genuinely impressive and nowhere is that more evident in his descriptions I had every intention of writing my review the minute I finished this book, but it didn’t happen. In point of fact I put it aside, picking up my daughter and withdrew to the living where we turned on Mary Poppins. Watching her giggle and bounce to the music warmed my heart, but the insight offered by his biography made Van Dyke’s performance all the more endearing. Van Dyke's dedication to family friendly entertainment is genuinely impressive and nowhere is that more evident in his descriptions of the film and television industries. That said, the book is about more than an actor keeping his integrity in show business, it’s also about a man and the things he had to overcome, a person coming to terms with his struggles and finding a path forward. I didn't know a lot about Dick Van Dyke when I stumbled over this book, but I found his story very interesting just the same and appreciate both the nostalgic quality of the book and how open the author was about the harder chapters of his life.

  4. 4 out of 5

    V. Briceland

    Dick Van Dyke's celebrity memoir, spanning his career of sixty years, goes down like mayonnaise on white bread--unobjectionable, but hardly interesting. Everything passes by without much impact or examination. His work on the groundbreaking The Dick Van Dyke Show was fun. Mary Tyler Moore was a sweet gal. Walt Disney was a heck of a guy. Martin Luther King Jr. sure was swell. It's a little odd that the most emotionally-resonant scene in the book (moreso than either his divorce or the death of a Dick Van Dyke's celebrity memoir, spanning his career of sixty years, goes down like mayonnaise on white bread--unobjectionable, but hardly interesting. Everything passes by without much impact or examination. His work on the groundbreaking The Dick Van Dyke Show was fun. Mary Tyler Moore was a sweet gal. Walt Disney was a heck of a guy. Martin Luther King Jr. sure was swell. It's a little odd that the most emotionally-resonant scene in the book (moreso than either his divorce or the death of a beloved granddaughter, even) involves his relationship with Dinky, a trained chimp for the movie Lt. Robin Crusoe U.S.N. But hey, it's Hollywood, where every monkey gets a shot at the big time.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Cara

    As a rule I usually do not read memoirs because in reality not all famous people are good writers. But I wanted to make an exception here because as a kid I loved watching the Dick Van Dyke show and Mary Poppins. Well... I may not change my opinion on memoirs anytime soon. Van Dyke writes the book in chronological order and you get to read about some of his rough times, how he grew up, and how sometimes he truly did get lucky. Some of the parts of the book I did enjoy were when he talked about hi As a rule I usually do not read memoirs because in reality not all famous people are good writers. But I wanted to make an exception here because as a kid I loved watching the Dick Van Dyke show and Mary Poppins. Well... I may not change my opinion on memoirs anytime soon. Van Dyke writes the book in chronological order and you get to read about some of his rough times, how he grew up, and how sometimes he truly did get lucky. Some of the parts of the book I did enjoy were when he talked about his family, but I'd say most of the book concentrated on his career. The writing style was kind of dry for me and I couldn't summon a lot of curiosity for all the names he threw out. The way he introduced these actors and actresses it made it seem the regular American would have heard about these big names. If I had grown up around that time maybe I would have, but the generation gap is evident here. I simply can't relate to it quite the same as someone else would. But that isn't a necessarily negative thing because it just goes to show that Mr. Van Dyke managed to work on something that would endure the test of time and became American classics. I should have realized that just because I liked his work as an entertainer it does not mean that I would dig his writing style. It makes me that much more grateful for the wonderful storytellers and acknowledge how hard it is to be a great writer. That's why not everybody is a professional author, but I'm glad he wrote the story. The rating comes more from my own disappoint than his actually writing ability. Though I may not love his writing, I will still love to watch his full body comedy and trademark humor with a smile on my face.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    I've always liked & admired Dick Van Dyke. He's never been part of the Hollywood drama, always seemed like a genuine person, & has been a fixture on TV my entire life. He's also a great comedian, a great dancer, & a fun singer, so I really looked forward to this autobiography. There weren't any big surprises. It was a lot of fun getting a peek behind the scenes of some of his projects & other Hollywood icons like Stan Laurel & Buster Keeton. It's great to hear how active he still is. I also appr I've always liked & admired Dick Van Dyke. He's never been part of the Hollywood drama, always seemed like a genuine person, & has been a fixture on TV my entire life. He's also a great comedian, a great dancer, & a fun singer, so I really looked forward to this autobiography. There weren't any big surprises. It was a lot of fun getting a peek behind the scenes of some of his projects & other Hollywood icons like Stan Laurel & Buster Keeton. It's great to hear how active he still is. I also appreciated his candor in his personal struggles with his marriage, alcohol, & smoking. He did a great job narrating it, as I expected. That pretty much sums up the book, it was what I expected. That doesn't take away from it at all though. I had high expectations going in & he didn't let me down.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Monica

    This is an honest memoir penned by a humble, complicated, and imperfect man. If you are a fan of The Dick Van Dyke Show (1960-1966), Diagnosis Murder, Strong Medicine, Mary Poppins, or any of the dozens of films and shows Dick did, I highly recommend giving this one a try. I will admit to frowning at the circumstances surrounding his divorce, hence the above reference to his imperfection, but overall, his love for his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, as well as his enduring resp This is an honest memoir penned by a humble, complicated, and imperfect man. If you are a fan of The Dick Van Dyke Show (1960-1966), Diagnosis Murder, Strong Medicine, Mary Poppins, or any of the dozens of films and shows Dick did, I highly recommend giving this one a try. I will admit to frowning at the circumstances surrounding his divorce, hence the above reference to his imperfection, but overall, his love for his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, as well as his enduring respect for his wife, shine through in his recollections of and reflections on it all. I also liked that rather than arrogantly pontificating on how he was the heart of the Dick Van Dyke show, Dick spends time acknowledging the talents and contributions of his co-stars, writers, and other members of the crew. Finally, while he explicitly states in the forward that you should “stop reading” if you’ve come for “dirt” there is some dirt to be had Suffice it to say that Mary Tyler Moore may have been the victim of the time-honored tradition of woman on woman haterism and professional sabotage because youth, beauty, and talent. Ultimately, this was a wonderful read; five stars!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Debbie Zapata

    Ever since I read The Official Dick Van Dyke Show Book, I have been entertaining myself during what I call Dinner Theater by watching episodes of that classic program on YouTube. I remember seeing many of them when I was little, but there is always so much more to notice now! When I learned that Rose Marie had written an autobiography (Hold The Roses), I ordered and read it and when I stumbled across Van Dyke's autobiography the other day of course I had to order that too. This is a friendly, ope Ever since I read The Official Dick Van Dyke Show Book, I have been entertaining myself during what I call Dinner Theater by watching episodes of that classic program on YouTube. I remember seeing many of them when I was little, but there is always so much more to notice now! When I learned that Rose Marie had written an autobiography (Hold The Roses), I ordered and read it and when I stumbled across Van Dyke's autobiography the other day of course I had to order that too. This is a friendly, open account of his life, and will leave you feeling honored to have spent time with the man. whether you think of him as Robert Petrie or Dr. Mark Sloan from Diagnosis Murder, or even Bert the chimney sweep from Mary Poppins, he is always a class act. Thanks, Mr. Van Dyke, for sharing these pages with us!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    Dick Van Dyke is one of my favorite actors, but the book was sort of "meh". He was a trailblazer in show business, in radio, TV, and movies, but this book just wasn't hitting it. In an early part of the book, he describe a time he was performing for the Hollywood elite (which included Lucille Ball) and no one was laughing, and there was definitely no applause. That's about how I felt with the book. There were some interesting stories, and some chuckle-inducing ones, too, but overall, it was just Dick Van Dyke is one of my favorite actors, but the book was sort of "meh". He was a trailblazer in show business, in radio, TV, and movies, but this book just wasn't hitting it. In an early part of the book, he describe a time he was performing for the Hollywood elite (which included Lucille Ball) and no one was laughing, and there was definitely no applause. That's about how I felt with the book. There were some interesting stories, and some chuckle-inducing ones, too, but overall, it was just very flat.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    Dick Van Dyke is, in some ways, just an overgrown kid from Illinois. He has a very Midwestern outlook on some things. That's the part of him we all know and love. Bert--Caractacus--Rob Petrie--that's the Dick Van Dyke you expect when you pick up this book, because that's the Dick Van Dyke who made you smile as a kid, who you sang along with and opened your little heart to. Yes, you know intellectually that they're not the same person, but your inner child will insist that they are anyway. Sad to Dick Van Dyke is, in some ways, just an overgrown kid from Illinois. He has a very Midwestern outlook on some things. That's the part of him we all know and love. Bert--Caractacus--Rob Petrie--that's the Dick Van Dyke you expect when you pick up this book, because that's the Dick Van Dyke who made you smile as a kid, who you sang along with and opened your little heart to. Yes, you know intellectually that they're not the same person, but your inner child will insist that they are anyway. Sad to say, it's not what you get. You get Dick Van Dyke the alcoholic smoker who went with another woman before he'd actually divorced his wife. He tried to be good, and I suppose that counts for something, but it's still heartbreaking to the child still inside who wanted to hear about how much fun it was to sing and dance with Julie Andrews. He doesn't talk about that, beyond a brief mention. I also expected this book to be funny, and it wasn't. I can recall one line that amused me, and he included it in his book but it was Cloris Leachman who said it, not him. I think Van Dyke's own brother said it best, that he always tries to be smarter than he is. There's a lot of pseudo-philosophizing that's little more than annoying, since he plays it off as profound and it's actually quite shallow. I'm quite disgusted with Hollywood people at this point, actually. They have too much time on their hands, I guess, and they spend it being depressed about their multi-million dollar lives and doing drugs (well, being an alcoholic in this case, but that's bad enough on its own) and drinking and partying and generally being wastrels. They should have to get day jobs, and filmmaking should be relegated to being a hobby, so then maybe they'd be too busy for drugs and alcohol and doing stupid things. I'm aware of how ridiculous that sounds even as I'm typing it, but I don't care, because I'm mad and put out and disgusted right now, so I'm saying it anyway, because it's as close as I can come to verbalizing my frustration. The other part of my frustration is politics. Not my politics, celebrity politics. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, yes, but as a celebrity you have to be aware of the sway your opinion could potentially have, and instead of trying to use it, maybe shut up. I don't want to know about your politics, whether they agree with mine or not. Disgust is about the only word I can think of to describe my feelings on this book. I feel like Bert was a lie now. I feel lied to. I'm sure I'll get over it eventually, but I'll never like this book. You can read it if you want, but if you loved Mary Poppins or Chitty Chitty Bang Bang as a kid, you have been warned.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mike (the Paladin)

    I sent for this book right after I read Tim Conway's bio. While I enjoyed that book more this is a good book. There are some chuckles here but there is also a serious story of Dick Van Dyke's life in show business. I knew before I picked this up that he'd had a struggle with alcohol so it wasn't a shock but that is only part of the story. Like many people the Dick Van Dyke Show was a staple of TV viewing in our home when I was a kid. After that he was always "around". That program stayed in synd I sent for this book right after I read Tim Conway's bio. While I enjoyed that book more this is a good book. There are some chuckles here but there is also a serious story of Dick Van Dyke's life in show business. I knew before I picked this up that he'd had a struggle with alcohol so it wasn't a shock but that is only part of the story. Like many people the Dick Van Dyke Show was a staple of TV viewing in our home when I was a kid. After that he was always "around". That program stayed in syndication (and still has) plus he did guest shots, specials and movies. He did what I think of as the last of the good TV mystery type shows. Murder She Wrote, Matlock, Ironside even Perry Mason (to go back a few years) shows like this had been around since TV's inception. Now they are "out of vogue" as we need in each half hour of a mystery program at least 2 sex scenes, a shoot out and a car chase.... Dick Van Dyke did Diagnosis Murder from '93 until 2001. He was told it was 20 years out of date...but it kept winning in the ratings. This a good and enjoyable story. While I suspect that Mr. Van Dyke and I would often disagree I don't see how anyone would not get along with him. Enjoy.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    I struggle with giving this book a low rating: I mean, it is Dick Van Dyke! He is classic. He is defining. We all cheered loudly when he appeared in Mary Poppins Returns because he is, simply, an icon of multiple generations now. Picking up this book, my question was not if it would be great but how great. The thing is...there is not much of interest here. Oh, I suppose as a recap of Dick Van Dyke's life it is interesting enough. He worked hard, embraced many cool opportunities, and overcame qui I struggle with giving this book a low rating: I mean, it is Dick Van Dyke! He is classic. He is defining. We all cheered loudly when he appeared in Mary Poppins Returns because he is, simply, an icon of multiple generations now. Picking up this book, my question was not if it would be great but how great. The thing is...there is not much of interest here. Oh, I suppose as a recap of Dick Van Dyke's life it is interesting enough. He worked hard, embraced many cool opportunities, and overcame quite a bit. But it fails to satisfy in any regard. As a look at life in Hollywood, it provides very few details besides a list of people he met, worked with, or particularly liked. As a narrative of his varied acting experiences, he gives very few (almost no) details besides how much he loved the Dick Van Dyke Show. (Did you know everyone thought his co-star was his wife? He will remind you of it. Often.) As a story of his life, it provides the facts but often with little more than you would expect from a Wikipedia page. His wife's early miscarriage, his own alcoholism and affair, the loss of a granddaughter...none of it gets more than lightly touched on. If there is one reoccurring theme, it is his seemingly deistic perspective on "love" and "good works." In short, his worldview boils down to everyone should be the affable, non-confrontational person that Dick Van Dyke is. And really, what this book is. It is a very bland, very polite, very grateful, but altogether uninspiring story. Which is too bad. It didn't need lots of Hollywood gossip. But it did need a little more vulnerability to make it more than an informational, and yet somehow uninformative, story.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Versel Rush

    Van Dyke warns the reader in the first pages that if they are looking for scandals to look elsewhere. While including his now well documented alcoholism and his divorce, this is not a salacious tell all filled with backstage backstabbing. In fact, though he does cover his childhood and family life, “My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business” is more a series of stories by a true icon of American theatre, television, and movies. The stories cover everything from his very early days in high scho Van Dyke warns the reader in the first pages that if they are looking for scandals to look elsewhere. While including his now well documented alcoholism and his divorce, this is not a salacious tell all filled with backstage backstabbing. In fact, though he does cover his childhood and family life, “My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business” is more a series of stories by a true icon of American theatre, television, and movies. The stories cover everything from his very early days in high school dramatics through his appearance in “Night at the Museum”. His unabashed love of “The Dick Van Dyke Show”, its cast (particularly Mary Tyler Moore), and Carl Reiner comes through clearly. In fact, more than anything, this is a love story between a man and his job. A song and dance man who started with minimal training, Dick Van Dyke writes he lucked into most of his career, just being in the right place at the right time. He turned down roles he wished he hadn’t but looks back on his life without many regrets. He is proud that he was a better father than his father (who he doesn’t skewer but paints as a hard working man who had to give up his dreams when his girlfriend who had become pregnant with Dick, who didn’t find out he was conceived out of wedlock until 17) and that his children are better parents than him. He writes of trying to be a “good boy” his entire life, just like his mama taught him in Danville. He is proud he insisted on doing family entertainment. He is adamant that just because you are old doesn’t mean you are less. And, even through the drinking and the affair, reading “My Lucky Life” reminded me why I love Dick Van Dyke. If you love him, too, this is definitely a book for you.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    I always loved Dick van Dyke and now even more. This book is an autobiography written by a humble, talented, humorous and sweet human being. Its honest, insightful and funny. As so many entertainers/artists/actors, he was torn between his self-perception and his public image. Witch he desperately tried to live up to. All trough the book you can feel the respect and love he and his fans shared, and his appreciation for it. The anecdotes including Buster Keaton and Laurel and Hardy, show us that he wa I always loved Dick van Dyke and now even more. This book is an autobiography written by a humble, talented, humorous and sweet human being. Its honest, insightful and funny. As so many entertainers/artists/actors, he was torn between his self-perception and his public image. Witch he desperately tried to live up to. All trough the book you can feel the respect and love he and his fans shared, and his appreciation for it. The anecdotes including Buster Keaton and Laurel and Hardy, show us that he was the first to be amazed and surprised at his own fame. Dick van Dyke went through some highs and lows, witch are the most noticeable when he least writes about them. His honesty in admitting his addictions to alcohol and Cigarettes, and his losses make him even more likable. The writing is light and pleasurable. But sometimes it felt to me as if some of the ideas for this book had been in the back of his head for a very long time. And others just emerged. (In regard of the writing style, and depth of remembrance) Al together a great read for fans.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jon

    I barely read any non-fiction (outside of the technical writing found in information technology reference guides) in any given year. When I do branch out away from fiction, I prefer to read a biography, autobiography or memoir, or a history book, usually on a particular brief period. I breezed through Dick Van Dyke's autobiography quickly, probably because it felt like he sat in my living regaling me with tales from his past in his engaging and witty manner. His charm and good will bubbled out o I barely read any non-fiction (outside of the technical writing found in information technology reference guides) in any given year. When I do branch out away from fiction, I prefer to read a biography, autobiography or memoir, or a history book, usually on a particular brief period. I breezed through Dick Van Dyke's autobiography quickly, probably because it felt like he sat in my living regaling me with tales from his past in his engaging and witty manner. His charm and good will bubbled out of the pages. Even the troubles and tragedies he confessed only evoked my compassion or caring in my assessment of him. A couple of excerpts that really struck a chord for me: I was all about living a kind, righteous, moral, forgiving, and loving life seven-days a week, not just the one day when you went to church. ... And if there's not a higher power, no one's going to be worse for the wear for his or her effort. Was there one way? No, not as far as I could tell -- other than to feel loved, to love back, ... as simple as making sure you spend time helping make life a little better for other people. (from the Family Values chapter) A few years ago, I told Esquire magazine that the Buddhists boiled it down to the essentials. They said you need three things in life: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for. The message does not get any clearer. I heard walt Disney, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Carl Reiner all say the same thing in their own way. Hope is life's essential nutrient, and love is what gives life meaning. I think you need somebody to love and take care of, and someone who loves you back. In that sense, I think the New Testament got it right. So did the Beatles. Without love, nothing has any meaning. (from the Curtain Calls chapter) When I finished the book, I wanted to give him a big hug, but of course, I'm too far away to do that. So I'll send him a little love for all the laughs and love he's shared unconditionally with me, with all of us really, for some many decades. As long as I've been alive, there's always been a Dick Van Dyke to make me smile.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Joe Martin

    I've enjoyed Dick Van Dyke ever since I saw Marry Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang as a child. Later in life, I saw episodes of The Dick Van Dyke show and enjoyed them too. So, when I saw this book pop up in the library, I eagerly snagged it. It was a very easy and engaging read. The book sounds exactly like Dick Van Dyke—as I read, I could easily hear his voice in my head and it sounded exactly like the Dick Van Dyke that I’ve heard in interviews before. The book was the story of his life, mos I've enjoyed Dick Van Dyke ever since I saw Marry Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang as a child. Later in life, I saw episodes of The Dick Van Dyke show and enjoyed them too. So, when I saw this book pop up in the library, I eagerly snagged it. It was a very easy and engaging read. The book sounds exactly like Dick Van Dyke—as I read, I could easily hear his voice in my head and it sounded exactly like the Dick Van Dyke that I’ve heard in interviews before. The book was the story of his life, mostly as collected through representative stories and vignettes. There were chapters dealing with The Dick Van Dyke Show (one of the best times of his life), Mary Poppins (a movie he still loves), and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (a movie that he resisted making for a long time and a movie that he feels justifies his initial low opinion of the script). Along the way, I learned about Dick Van Dyke the political activist, the sailor, and the Sunday School teacher, and husband. I really enjoyed the glimpse into his “lucky life”, the people he knew, and the times he lived through.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jamison

    dick van dyke had a lot of choices in life. he had to choose between the wife who gave him several children, and a lover who gave him a listening ear, and the support he needed as an actor. he had to choose between being a star, and being a man who could share his films with his family. but, most importantly, van dyke had to choose between himself, and the bottle. unfortunately, this book doesn't really go into the hardships he had with alcoholism. but, he gives credit where it's due . . to the s dick van dyke had a lot of choices in life. he had to choose between the wife who gave him several children, and a lover who gave him a listening ear, and the support he needed as an actor. he had to choose between being a star, and being a man who could share his films with his family. but, most importantly, van dyke had to choose between himself, and the bottle. unfortunately, this book doesn't really go into the hardships he had with alcoholism. but, he gives credit where it's due . . to the support of his family, and the women in his life. i liked how he had a good sense of family throughout this book. he realizes it's hard to be related to dick van dyke, and he makes sure to tell about the troubles (and talents) of his brother jerry. i finished this book pretty quickly. it was a bright enough read,entertaining, with a light amount of insight, much like the man it's about.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mary Blye Kramer

    So it really didn’t take me as long to finish this book as it looks - I read a couple of chapters, laid it down, forgot about it, and when I picked up back up 2 days ago, whipped right through it. Here’s what I have to say: Dick Van Dyke is a wonderful, amazing, unbelievably multi-talented, down-to-earth human being. And yes, the book was well-written and fascinating.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kate Woods Walker

    It's an old-school celebrity memoir. As many have already noted in earlier reviews, My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business is told in the gosh-golly-gee-whiz voice of a PG-rated narrator who finds everyone and everything very nice. I don't find this to be particularly objectionable. I pick up a book like this one to serve as a mental palate cleanser, and the likeable Mr. Van Dyke, now in his mid-eighties, has earned the right to present himself as a big bowl of orange sherbet if that's what he It's an old-school celebrity memoir. As many have already noted in earlier reviews, My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business is told in the gosh-golly-gee-whiz voice of a PG-rated narrator who finds everyone and everything very nice. I don't find this to be particularly objectionable. I pick up a book like this one to serve as a mental palate cleanser, and the likeable Mr. Van Dyke, now in his mid-eighties, has earned the right to present himself as a big bowl of orange sherbet if that's what he wants to do. I was entertained; I was given a nugget or two of showbiz dish I might not otherwise have known. I'm sure I knew somewhere in the back of my mind--from my slavish devotion to Rona Barrett magazines back in the day--that he and Michelle Triola Marvin were a cohabitating item, but I had forgotten. There were other less-blatant hints of the more complicated, darker human being underneath all the niceness. There was cursory mention of his drinking problem. There was less-than-expected praise of certain co-stars. Reviews were quoted, perhaps a bit defensively. Certainly there's no disguising the narcissism of a person who has been in show business for over half a century, but hey, it is an old-school celebrity memoir, after all. I don't care that he leaves the grittier stuff on the cutting room floor. I like him. He's nice.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nathanael Smith

    I loved this book. I grew up watching Dick Van Dyke and enjoying all the entertainment he’s given people over the years, so honestly to read him talk about his life and to find out that he was actually a wonderfully decent person in real life was nice. There are a couple somewhat sad parts about his life, but even those just made him seem like a real human being who has dealt with his problems the best he can, and compared to other hollywood characters he made out fairly well. It was also a trea I loved this book. I grew up watching Dick Van Dyke and enjoying all the entertainment he’s given people over the years, so honestly to read him talk about his life and to find out that he was actually a wonderfully decent person in real life was nice. There are a couple somewhat sad parts about his life, but even those just made him seem like a real human being who has dealt with his problems the best he can, and compared to other hollywood characters he made out fairly well. It was also a treat to see him talk about life in a time period I love more than any else. There are plenty of great stories in here dealing with various people he’s met over his lifetime, my two favorite probably being Cary Grant and Fred Astaire. Anyways, this was a great book. Read it. Or don’t.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    Celebrity memoirs are my guilty pleasure reading lately. I've always been a big fan of Dick Van Dyke, so this was a fun, quick read. Not a literary show stopper by any means, but I enjoyed reading a little bit about the behind the scenes of his tv shows and movies. I'd forgotten how much I loved Diagnosis Murder!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Callie *Fights Censorship*

    Actual rating- 3 1/2 Stars Starting off with the positive... the following positive statements were originally written at the end of this review but I realized that the paragraphs preceding them made this book sound absolutely horrible and it isn't. In fact it was a very enjoyable read. So I've moved some of the positive lines to the beginning. I absolutely loved listening to the narration of this audio book, it felt like Dick was sitting next to me. The voice and tone of the book seems very genui Actual rating- 3 1/2 Stars Starting off with the positive... the following positive statements were originally written at the end of this review but I realized that the paragraphs preceding them made this book sound absolutely horrible and it isn't. In fact it was a very enjoyable read. So I've moved some of the positive lines to the beginning. I absolutely loved listening to the narration of this audio book, it felt like Dick was sitting next to me. The voice and tone of the book seems very genuine. However, I think my rating might have been a lot lower if I had read this book instead of listened to it. The stories of Dick growing up and starting out in show business were fantastically interesting and entertaining. While I would not categorize this book under humor, the voice and anecdotes often made me smile and even laugh. Really there are two aspects to the rating of this book. The first is the construction of the book itself and the second is the story that it tells, which in this case is an actual person's life, this complicates things. Going in to this book I was very excited since Mary Poppins is one of my favorite movies and I grew up loving the Dick Van Dyke Show, God Bless Nick at Nite. Dick Van Dyke was at the top of my heroes list along with Lucille Ball, Elvis Presley, and Andy Griffith (I'm an old soul what can I say) but in listening to this memoir I was slightly disappointed. The biggest thing that bothered me was not so much the mistakes that he made but that he painted them in such a rosy light. And the rant begins It was hard for me to discover that he was cheating on his wife for like 5 years before divorcing her. It was hard for me to listen to him praise this other woman at the beginning and end of the book when, for the bulk of the book, his first wife Margie is there by his side through some really tough times. I can totally understand making a mistake but you need to own up to it and not act like its no big deal to cheat on your wife...FOR 5 YEARS! This leads to a problem I had with other parts of the book. To me, everything seemed very selective, by that I mean Dick seemed to gloss over things that were not favorable to his character while at the same time praising himself as a 'good boy'. At times this memoir came off a little self-serving and lacking an appropriate dose of modesty. My second complaint of the book is that I felt there wasn't enough written about subjects that most people who pick up this book are interested in namely Marry Poppins and the Dick Van Dyke Show. Instead, Dick spent a time talking about things that didn't seem pertinent to his story. For example, when I think of the civil rights movement, I don't think of Dick Van Dyke yet he goes on and on and on about this and other political events and issues....if I wanted a 1960's history lesson I wouldn't turn to Dick Van Dyke, sorry. Overall, this was an interesting read but I would not recommend it to the casual fan. I would also offer a warning that the show that made Dick Van Dyke a household name is not nearly as prominent as one might think it should be. Dick writes in a casual nostalgic tone that made me feel like a kid curled up on my grandfather's lap. Skip the book, listen to the audio version!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Verona

    I love Dick Van Dyke! And after reading his book, I like him even more. I appreciate his sticking to his goal of working only on projects that are wholesome and family entertainment. He tells his own story in this book, and I felt like he was telling it just to me. It was like he was talking to me and telling me his goals, his dreams, his values. It read like a conversation. He doesn't cover up any of his problems and issues; he tells it like it was. He doesn't sensationalize his getting help wi I love Dick Van Dyke! And after reading his book, I like him even more. I appreciate his sticking to his goal of working only on projects that are wholesome and family entertainment. He tells his own story in this book, and I felt like he was telling it just to me. It was like he was talking to me and telling me his goals, his dreams, his values. It read like a conversation. He doesn't cover up any of his problems and issues; he tells it like it was. He doesn't sensationalize his getting help with his alcoholism, but just tells about how he felt about wanting to eliminate that problem from his life. The same with smoking; he had to be scared of cancer before he quit for good, but he did it. I appreciated his honesty and forthrightness. I am glad he was a family man who loved his wife and children and put them first in his life. He didn't go to Hollywood parties much, but spent time with his family. Although he and Margie did eventually go their separate ways, it was an amicable split. I did find it sad that he fell in love with someone else while he was still married, and the fact that he and Michelle lived together for many years and never married. She died, and now he's alone, but still works. Comedy and acting are what keeps him going, so he did the Diagnosis Murder series for 10 years while he was in his seventies. It makes me feel lazy; at seventy, I am glad to be retired and doing my own personal projects and playing with grandkids. As I began this review, I love Dick Van Dyke and his humor and talent. I watched every episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show, and loved his role in Mary Poppins, and really loved the Diagnosis Murder show. I enjoyed reading about his life from his own heart.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Troy Blackford

    A very interesting, well-organized look at the man's life. These stories always end up being more interesting than I expect. I like reading them from time to time because a lifetime of achievements and experiences is always something worthwhile. I've read autobiographies of people I knew far less about than Mr. Van Dyke, and I found this one a rewarding experience.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Chandni

    I LOVE THIS MAN! :)

  26. 4 out of 5

    ~ Cheryl ~

    *Audiobook, read by the author* Maybe 2 stars is an unfair rating. There was nothing wrong with this memoir. It was perfectly coherent, covered all the turning points in Van Dyke’s life and career. But it revealed an unpalatable side to his personality, and I don’t do well separating a celebrity’s personality from his body of work. At the outset of the book, Van Dyke assures us, in that familiarly genial voice, that there is nothing salacious to be found in his memoir. Yet, a fair amount of what *Audiobook, read by the author* Maybe 2 stars is an unfair rating. There was nothing wrong with this memoir. It was perfectly coherent, covered all the turning points in Van Dyke’s life and career. But it revealed an unpalatable side to his personality, and I don’t do well separating a celebrity’s personality from his body of work. At the outset of the book, Van Dyke assures us, in that familiarly genial voice, that there is nothing salacious to be found in his memoir. Yet, a fair amount of what he has to say is somewhat risqué (not at length nor explicit). Maybe it wasn't exactly salacious, but much of it eyebrow-raising stuff, even if Van Dyke is apt to laugh it off. There were other revelations concerning his own childhood (such as aspects of his upbringing and his parents' conduct). These were somewhat startling to me, but Van Dyke seems to view it all through rose-colored glasses. Like, if he doesn’t see it as alarming, neither should we. He was open enough about his own skeletons. His drinking problem. His extra-marital affair. How he finally separated from his wife. But those same rose-colored glasses helped him gloss right over it with his unflappable charm, telegraphing to us that it’s no reason to get upset. The book isn't ALL bad. If you were ever a fan of his movies or TV, there’s plenty of behind-the-scenes to interest even the casual fan. In fact, I enjoyed some of the chapters about how The Dick Van Dyke Show came together, and some of the movie stories. But in the last third or so, Van Dyke’s decisions and opinions began to chafe. If I’m being honest, it’s the point where he admits (in his good-natured, golly-gee delivery) to having a mid-life crisis, and proceeds to defend his actions over and over, beyond that point. The longer I listened, the more he sounded cheerfully defensive, and falsely humble. One example sticks out: On the set of Dick Tracy (in the late 80s?), he was required to do a stunt of sorts, where he falls between an iron cot and a dresser. First, he inserts that those on the set where “impressed,” given his age at the time. Then he tells us that on the fourth take, he hit his shoulder on the cot, dislocating a bone. He says, “I could have complained about the lack of a stunt coordinator, but I chose not to.” Maybe I’m not articulating all of this very well, but that example seems to sum up most of what didn’t sit right with me about this book in the end. Something forced, and something false. Throughout the book, he heaps praises on fellow actors and directors, but in the next paragraph he'll be naming names, describing someone's lewd conduct or drug/alcohol use. He says more than once that when it comes to fooling around with co-stars, though other people in show business did it, he didn't do that. Yet, he gleefully reminds us how often people mistook him and Mary Tyler Moore for a married couple, and - almost in so many words - that he had a crush on her. He keeps making sure we know he comes by his nice-guy reputation honestly. Yet he breezes over the break-up of his marriage and his growing relationship with the other woman, whom he would spend the rest of his life with but never marry. And though he never spells it out, it's clear that he resented his wife's enduring dislike for the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. The other woman, - he repeats again and again - was the opposite: outgoing, knowing everyone in the biz, understanding his job, listening to him talk about it. It was just a little sickening. Dick Van Dyke repeatedly reminds us that he’s always tried to do what’s right. That his mother told him he was a good boy, and he believes he still is that good boy from small-town middle America. And golly gee he's had one lucky life. Okay, Dick. You got your point across. But this listener found it had a hollow ring to it.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Juliana

    This was such an entertaining book about Dick Van Dyke's life. I listened to the audiobook and it's actually read by him so it heightens the experience even more. There's so much I didn't know about him, including that he was a recovering alcoholic, or how much he struggled before making it big. He's worked with so many famous people and played some iconic roles. He didn't talk about Mary Poppins as much as I would have liked but I did enjoy that he went through everything chronologically instea This was such an entertaining book about Dick Van Dyke's life. I listened to the audiobook and it's actually read by him so it heightens the experience even more. There's so much I didn't know about him, including that he was a recovering alcoholic, or how much he struggled before making it big. He's worked with so many famous people and played some iconic roles. He didn't talk about Mary Poppins as much as I would have liked but I did enjoy that he went through everything chronologically instead of jumping around. He still has such a joy for life and genuinely loves to be in show business. While I don't agree with everything he did or talked about (including doing an Indian accent when talking about his doctor), I still think it was a solid autobiography.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

    It’s interesting how the lives of all the autobiographies I’ve read during the month of May cross paths with each other. The month started out with Julie Andrews and left me frustrated because she was about to take on the movie role of Mary Poppins and she decided to end the book right then and there. Happily, Dick Van Dyke continued on where Ms. Andrews left off, and I was able to enjoy hearing about the making of the great Walt Disney film. Dick Van Dyke has definitely had an interesting and lu It’s interesting how the lives of all the autobiographies I’ve read during the month of May cross paths with each other. The month started out with Julie Andrews and left me frustrated because she was about to take on the movie role of Mary Poppins and she decided to end the book right then and there. Happily, Dick Van Dyke continued on where Ms. Andrews left off, and I was able to enjoy hearing about the making of the great Walt Disney film. Dick Van Dyke has definitely had an interesting and lucky life. His start in show business was due to lot of hard work and also being in the right place at the right time. Early comedic television sounds like a great place to be for a budding funnyman/actor. The field was wide open and although Van Dyke doesn’t profess to be good at coming up with material, he is definitely a character actor, and a good one at that. I liked how he decided early on to only take on roles that would be suitable for his whole family to view. I’m positive that led to much of his success. I recall as a young girl watching many films and television shows featuring Dick Van Dyke and it never would have crossed my mind that he could have chosen to portray unseemly characters. Because he always played the good guy, I have to admit I was a bit disappointed when he pointed out his human failings. He suffered from alcoholism and his marriage ended when he fell in love with his assistant. I suppose that’s the problem with Hollywood – the parts that are played on screen seldom resemble real life. While Van Dyke pointed out his own flaws, he was gentlemanly enough to refrain from pointing out the flaws of others. He appreciated many he’s worked with and always had nice things to say. There were many good stories here and I’m glad I had this glimpse into his life.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    Who doesn’t remember Rob Petrie tripping over the ottoman at the beginning of the Dick Van Dyke show or Bert singing and dancing with penguins? Mr. Van Dyke tells the behind the scenes secrets that led to those iconic television and movie moments and that alone would have been enough to entice me to read this memoir. But this book is so much more. Mr. Van Dyke shares his years as a boy and then young man growing up in the Midwest. He reveals joining the armed forces so that he could fly and how Who doesn’t remember Rob Petrie tripping over the ottoman at the beginning of the Dick Van Dyke show or Bert singing and dancing with penguins? Mr. Van Dyke tells the behind the scenes secrets that led to those iconic television and movie moments and that alone would have been enough to entice me to read this memoir. But this book is so much more. Mr. Van Dyke shares his years as a boy and then young man growing up in the Midwest. He reveals joining the armed forces so that he could fly and how that didn’t quite pan out. His early years starting out in radio and the years of living hand to mouth, sometimes getting evicted because the rent didn’t get paid and how (and why) he persevered. Yet this is not a self-serving “look what I went through” telling of his story. He writes with honesty, as well as his trademark sense of humor, even when the reader senses that the subject matter is painful. Mr. Van Dyke never strayed from his determination to never make a television series or film that he could not enjoy with his children. I think that was the key to his success … everyone could enjoy his talent. Despite his 50+ years of success in show business he still considers himself a simple “song and dance man”. I listened to the audio book, narrated by Mr. Van Dyke himself, and although the book doesn’t need any help in the “interesting” department, it did make it a little more special.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Philip Cosand

    Finally. An autobiography that has something to say. The last few self-scripted tales have been cranked out when people were in their 30's or 40's. What'll they do when they have a few more decades under their belt? With age comes experience and wisdom. Van Dyke is able to gain perspective on past events and give us a summation of 60 years in the entertainment industry and four generations of family tales. As he promises from the beginning, the stories are not overly salacious. That fits with his f Finally. An autobiography that has something to say. The last few self-scripted tales have been cranked out when people were in their 30's or 40's. What'll they do when they have a few more decades under their belt? With age comes experience and wisdom. Van Dyke is able to gain perspective on past events and give us a summation of 60 years in the entertainment industry and four generations of family tales. As he promises from the beginning, the stories are not overly salacious. That fits with his family-friendly method of approaching life. Oh sure, there are a few specific comments and the man admits that he had a problem or two. However, one walks away with a sense that he strives to be happy in his life and his work. This is not the jaded memoirs of a cantankerous old crank. This is a man who has loved, been loved, and feels that his life is a blessing. Even so, the book does now suffer from Elwes' problem of, "Everything was great, everyone was great, it's all great". He knows that those around him are human and likes them regardless. Differing lifestyles do not negate Van Dyke's fondness for them. We are given 80+ years of stories from a gifted entertainer who can't stay away from the spotlight too long. In the end you're left wanting more; from the writer and the TV performer.

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