Dick Van Dyke has four children. And two of them appeared on a special episode of “The Dick Van Dyke Show” that featured a procession of showbiz tykes.
In that episode of the show, “The Talented Neighborhood,” Alan Brady decides that his TV show will host a children’s talent search. Once word gets out, Rob’s (Van Dyke) neighbors and acquaintances begin bending his ear about how talented their children are.
One scene featured Van Dyke’s son Barry, according to MeTV. He played a boy tuning his violin. The boy then scolds Sally (Rose Marie) for playing an A flat instead of an A. Later on, Barry Van Dyke grew up to be an actor who has appeared in “Diagnosis Murder” and “Murder 101,” among other TV series.
At another point in the episode, Buddy (Morey Amsterdam) ushers in more kids to audition. Among them is a kid named “Frankie.” Playing him is Van Dyke’s eldest son Christian, who saunters in with a fedora tipped over his eyes and snapping his fingers. Christian Van Dyke did a little acting when he was younger. But he later became a district attorney and marketing director for Nike USA, per Closer Weekly.
Dick Van Dyke Didn’t Want to Repeat His Father’s Mistakes
When it came to his family, Dick Van Dyke credited his first wife with doing the hard work. Van Dyke’s father was a minor-league baseball player and handsome party animal who played clarinet and saxophone in a jazz band during the off-season. He was living it up until Van Dyke’s mother, a stenographer, announced she was pregnant. So then Van Dyke’s father had to settle down and accept a job as a Sunshine Cookie Company salesman.
The elder Van Dyke was also an alcoholic, a mistake Van Dyke eventually realized he had repeated. He tried to straighten out, but as he did, his first marriage started falling apart.
“I tried to be a good role model to my children, but I was an alcoholic for 25 years, which inevitably impacted on family life,” Van Dyke told The Guardian in 2016. “When I went into therapy, I realized I was repeating my father’s mistakes. He often came home drunk after lengthy road trips and my mother threatened to walk out unless he quit – which he did. When I pledged to quit and entered a rehab clinic, Margie checked in as I checked out. I thought she’d come to pick me up, but it turned out she was hooked on antidepressants. I had no idea. What a pair.”
In 1984, Dick Van Dyke and his first wife, Margie, divorced. She died of pancreatic cancer in 2008. Van Dyke eventually remarried Arlene Silver, a woman 46 years his junior, with whom he has a happy life. And he said his children eventually came around to their partnership, with even Christian, who had voiced some doubts, signing on to the pairing.