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JERRY VAN DYKE

Jerry Van Dyke

Born Jerry McCord Van Dyke
July 27, 1931
Danville, Illinois, U.S.

Died January 5, 2018 (aged 86)
Malvern, Arkansas, U.S.
Cause of death Heart failure
Occupation Actor, comedian

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Jerry McCord Van Dyke (July 27, 1931 – January 5, 2018) was an American comedian and actor, as well as the younger brother of Dick Van Dyke.

He made his television acting debut on The Dick Van Dyke Show with several guest appearances as Rob Petrie’s brother, Stacey. Later in his career from 1989 to 1997, he portrayed Luther Van Dam on the ABC sitcom Coach.

Van Dyke was born in Danville, Illinois, in 1931 to Hazel Victoria (née McCord; 1896–1992), a stenographer, and Loren Wayne “Cookie” Van Dyke (1898–1976), a salesman. He was of Dutch, English, and Scottish descent. His mother was a Mayflower descendant.

Van Dyke pursued his stand-up comedy career while still in Danville High School, and was already a veteran of strip joints and nightclubs when he joined the United States Air Force Tops In Blue in 1954 and 1955. During the mid-1950s, Van Dyke worked at WTHI-TV in Terre Haute, Indiana. The Jerry Van Dyke Show, which included future CBS News Early Show news anchor Joseph Benti, Nancee South and Ben Falber, was popular fare. In the service, he performed at military bases around the world, twice winning the All Air Force Talent Show.

Following his first guest appearances on The Dick Van Dyke Show and two others on CBS’s The Ed Sullivan Show, CBS made him a regular on The Judy Garland Show. He was also given hosting chores on the 1963 game show Picture This. In that same year, movie audiences saw him in supporting roles in the films McLintock!, Palm Springs Weekend and The Courtship of Eddie’s Father.

In 1963, Van Dyke was cast on an episode of the CBS anthology series, GE True, hosted by Jack Webb. When The Judy Garland Show was unsuccessfully revamped, Van Dyke left the program. He turned down the offer to play Gilligan on Gilligan’s Island, a role which went instead to Bob Denver. He rejected as well an offer to replace Don Knotts as Sheriff Andy Taylor’s deputy on The Andy Griffith Show. Van Dyke finally accepted the lead role of attorney David Crabtree in the short-lived sitcom, My Mother the Car (1965).

Personal life

Van Dyke was married twice and had three children with first wife Carol, daughters Jerri Lynn and Kelly Jean and son Ronald. Kelly Jean Van Dyke committed suicide in 1991, following struggles with substance abuse.

Jerry and wife Shirley resided together on their 800-acre ranch near Hot Springs, Arkansas.[9]

Van Dyke was an avid poker player and announced a number of poker tournaments for ESPN in the late 1990s and early 2000s. He was also a 4-string banjo player with several performances on The Dick Van Dyke Show to his credit.

Death

Van Dyke died on January 5, 2018, at his Arkansas ranch, aged 86. He was the first celebrity death of 2018. He was in declining health since being involved in a car accident two years earlier.