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January 26th, 2013

Book Review: “My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business: A Memoir” by Dick Van Dyke

I didn’t know much about Dick Van Dyke because listening to this audiobook. I knew he had a Dick Van Dyke show and that was it. I’m a big fan of Mary Tyler Moore and was pleasantly surprised to learn that Mary came out of his show and played his wife for so many seasons.

Like many old timers in that era, Dick had the passion for entertaining and making his audience happy. He sharpened his dancing and comedy routines while playing in all the various clubs before meeting his “savior” – Carl Reiner, who I later found is still enjoying acting and writing at his age of 90. Dick was thrusted into a leading role in the Dick Van Dyke Show bearing his name. The show was named after him because the network executive couldn’t come up with a better name. Then it was the start of a beautiful relationship with Carl Reiner and beginning of his TV career. He thrived in physical comedy, taking the cue from his heroes, Laurel and Hardy, Buster Keaton and etc. As a result of reading this book, I started watching the first season of the Dick Van Dyke Show. It was as timeless as he claimed. Laughter and humor seem to the enduring part of our culture.

Dick Van Dyke, from his own portray of his life,, appears to be a very happy person. He happens to be so talented in doing what he so enjoys doing – entertaining people. The TV/movie industry has served him well.

Going in and out of show business, the premise of the book, was because of his wife’s nagging him to retire and sail into a quiet life, which he ultimately decided wasn’t for him. He’s too outgoing/extroverted to do that, though he often enjoyed the quiet life of sailing off California coast.

He went into great details on some of his favorite episodes in the Dick Van Dyke show. A lot of the episodes came about through the actual stories of himself and others in the show.

He talked about his battle with alcohol and smoking. Instead of denying his problem, he joined AA and combated the demons – several times. He’s also very clear on which side of the civil rights movements he set his foot on, having joined the Martin Luther King’s rally and others.

Dick has outlived his first wife, the mother of his four children, and his long time partner, Michelle. In his mature age of 87, Dick is still going strong. I look forward to many more gigs from him. He seems to have his acts together. Viva Dick Van Dyke.

Posted by Derek Tsai in Book Reviews

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