WATCH: Dick Van Dyke Opens Up About Being Honored With ‘American Knighthood’ in Kennedy Center Tribute

by Keeli Parkey

During May 2021, legendary television and film star Dick Van Dyke joined four other individuals as part of the 43rd class of artists to receive the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors.

In an interview shared on the Kennedy Center’s official Twitter page on Saturday (June 5), Van Dyke said the award was unlike any other.

“I don’t know what you do after this,” he said. “This is American knighthood. I never dreamed of it, but I’m so happy.”

During the interview, the 95-year-old Dick Van Dyke reflected on his place amongst those who have contributed to the arts during their lives and careers.

“It’s not a popular vote. It’s not a public vote. They vote for the best, you know – for real class entertainment,” he said.

And, of course, a man known for his humorous roles in both television and film made a joke about being one of the few people to receive a Kennedy Center Honor.

“They pick artists. And, they certainly did pick the right ones I think. Not myself,” he said with a laugh.

Dick Van Dyke Said There Was ‘Great Dancing’ During Kennedy Center Honors Ceremony

Dick Van Dyke also shared his thoughts about the performances he witnessed during the May 2021 ceremony.

“There was some great, great dancing tonight,” he said. “They were doing dance numbers I couldn’t have done. I’m glad I didn’t have that choreographer. Blew me away.”

The ceremony also allowed the popular funny man to reflect on his decades-long career.

“All those numbers reminded me of how much fun I had over the years. I wasn’t working for a living. They were paying me to play,” he explained. “I just – everything I did I just enjoyed it.”

Receiving such an honor for his life’s work still had not set in for Dick Van Dyke.

“I haven’t quite absorbed it yet. It’s so big,” he said. “I keep waiting for somebody to call and say, ‘We made a mistake.'”

One highlight of the events surrounding the awards ceremony for Van Dyke was meeting President Joe Biden. And, President Biden didn’t disappoint. He even welcomed the song and dance man to the White House in a very special way.

“It’s been fun. I got to meet the President in the Oval Office,” Dick Van Dyke said. “When I walked in, he genuflected. He went down on his knees in front of me. I bet nobody ever got that before.”

Joining Dick Van Dyke in receiving an award during the 43rd Kennedy Center Honors were, country music icon Garth Brooks, folk singer Joan Baez, artist, choreographer and actress Debbie Allen, and violinist Midori 

You can watch Dick Van Dyke, Garth Brooks, and others, receive their Kennedy Center Honors on Sunday, June 6. The ceremony will air at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.