Dick Van Dyke was probably the first actor I knew by name. As a kid, I watched him in Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, then in Diagnosis Murder and Bye Bye Birdie, and later I discovered The Dick Van Dyke Show and obsessively watched the entire series. When his memoir came out a few years ago, I was almost hesitant to read it. Many times, actors’ and actresses’ lives are much less enchanting than their fictional lives, and their personalities are bland in comparison to their on-stage characters. I was so happily surprised when I discovered that this was not the case with Dick Van Dyke after reading My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business. In fact, my respect and love for him grew even more after reading about his life. He does not gloss over his mistakes in order to seem perfect, but rather shares the wisdom he gained from each of his mistakes. Already from the Introduction, I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed, because he explains that any readers reading the book to find “dirt” on the people he worked with should put the book away. His goal was not to provide drama and controversy, but to highlight all of the people who played a role in his success, which he humbly claims was almost entirely the result of luck.
He says, “I have tried to write an honest story, with lightness, insight, hope, and some laughs. I have also woven in bits of wisdom, opinion, and lessons learned…”
After reading the book, I practically retold the entire story to multiple friends and family members, who later read the book for themselves and absolutely loved it as well. Some of my favorite stories include crazy anecdotes about his childhood, his small beginnings, how he learned to dance, his experiences on the set of Mary Poppins, and behind-the-scenes of The Dick Van Dyke Show. Dick Van Dyke’s sense of humor, insight, humility, and adventurous life are so fun to read about and such an inspiration. Ironically, anyone who reads the book will become convinced that Dick Van Dyke’s life and success is in no way the result of luck, as the title claims, but a result of his hard work, talent, relationships, and passion.
Read about more books on my bookshelf here:
A Faith of Our Own
Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus