Dick Van Dyke, indisputably one of the greats of the golden age of television, is admired and beloved by audiences the world over for his beaming smile, his physical dexterity, his impeccable comic timing, his ridiculous stunts, and his unforgettable screen roles.
His trailblazing television program, The Dick Van Dyke Show (produced by Carl Reiner, who has written the foreword to this memoir), was one of the most popular sitcoms of the 1960s and introduced another major television star, Mary Tyler Moore. But Dick Van Dyke was also an enormously engaging movie star whose films, including Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, have been discovered by a new generation of fans and are as beloved today as they were when they first appeared. Who doesn’t know the word supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?
A colorful, loving, richly detailed look at the decades of a multilayered life, My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business will enthrall every generation of listener, from baby-boomers who recall when Rob Petrie became a household name to all those still enchanted by Bert’s “Chim Chim Cher-ee”. This is a lively, heartwarming memoir of a performer who still thinks of himself as a “simple song-and-dance man”, but who is, in every sense of the word, a classic entertainer.
©2011 Dick Van Dyke (P)2011 Random House Audio
“In my opinion, 'Luck’ has little to do with Dick Van Dyke’s life. It is, rather, his innate kindness and talent that have had an extraordinary effect in shaping the man. And what a fascinating self-portrait he’s given us in this book.” (Mary Tyler Moore)
“From the time I worked with Dick on the movie Bye Bye Birdie, I have admired his many talents, not the least of which is the joy and enthusiasm he shares with audiences. I’m a big fan of his... and his book.” (Ann-Margret)
No. Although his voice has lessened with age, hearing Dick Van Dyke tell his story brings his unique gift to the listener
Portions of his life we of a certain age, all shared...Bye, By Birdie, his television experiences, and of course, Mary Poppins...
Yes. Unfortunately we all must age and at 85 years old, age has taken its toll on Dick's clarity. Still I wish I had his sparkle and energy when I reach 85
I love this book, my wife told me about this book and I got hooked from his first story. It is a fast listen and hearing Mr Van Dyke tell his own story is worth it. I can't imagine any other narrator telling his story. I have been a fan sense The Dick Van Dyke show and a big Mary Poppins fan. He is a big inspiration in my life as for I am a family comedy performer.
If you love Dick Van Dyke you will love this book. I only wish it were longer. It is narrated by Dick Van Dyke himself so in that sense it is better than the paper version. Although I do wish I had the paper version with the photos...
l'enfer c'est les autres
The book is a delightful listen and is a good guide book on how to enjoy life. Do good and be good and good will flow back to you seems to be the theme for this book.
I mostly read science and history books to find out about our place in the universe, but I'm glad I veered off those topics and listened to this book. The author's approach to life gave me an interesting perspective.
The author's reading of his own book was superb and added to the listening experience.
My first audiobook. No longer a virgin! And what a way to start.
Doesn't hurt that I adore Dick Van Dyke but that aside, his autobiography is magic...made more magical by his telling of his own story. A thoroughly enjoyable listen.
This book is a must for any Dick Van Dyke fan. From the wonderful back stories of the Dick Van Dyke show, Mary Poppins, Chitty-Chitty, Bang-Bang. To the parts that you might be unfamiliar with. it's hard to stop listening.
There is something new in every chapter. Like how he got his start in show business. His brief run in with the Mob. Almost getting fired from his job at an Atlanta TV station. His political activism, and his struggle with alcoholism.
I am so glad the Dick Van Dyke narrates this book himself. I felt as if I were a relative of his, and asked him what his life was like? "Well pull up a chair, and I'll tell you all about it".
There are so many performers. Dick Van Dyke is truly an entertainer.
I have always enjoyed watching the movies and television work of this extraordinarily talented man. I was too young to enjoy his television years but at the age of seven I remember being absolutely riveted by the movie, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
By the time the movie was released in the UK we knew every word to every song in the film because my father bought the record album for my brother and I to listed to - and did we ever. I still remember most of the songs now. It was a magical day when we actually joined the huge lines at our local cinema and to enjoy something this special.
I am sure that many will disagree, but I felt let down when Mr. Van Dyke talked as if the movie had been a disappointment in its finished product. He voiced that there were a lot of things that he was not happy with or did not go as he would have liked; and if this is how he feels then he is right to publish this view.
However, I remember this film being an absolute blockbuster which he presumably benefitted financially and a career point of view. In fact I am sure he is still collecting royalty checks from the repeats of the film and theater production.
He gave very little details of where he felt the movie had not gone as planned which would have been interesting to hear (although I do remember him saying that the seaside scenes had to be filmed in the South of France because of the poor British weather! What a shocker).
But I really felt let down as a fan of the movie in that he seemed to show no appreciation or awareness of the pleasure it gave children then and is still doing now. If things didn't go to plan, then of course that is extremely relevant but he brushed passed all this and I got the feeling that it was not a film that he enjoyed making at all.
Okay, I am a 'happy ending' sort of gal but one of my pet hates is when celebrities moan about work that gave them a great deal of fame and money, but also brought something special to the lives of the audience the movie was targeted to.
Thanks for reading
I absolutely loved the first half and hated the second life.
If he realized people have different political viewpoints.
His great performance. He really can entertain.
I think Dick leaves a lot out of the story. He skims over much of the story. His parents were distant and his father was an alcoholic and you can see how it impacted his life greatly. But he doesn't tell you how he really feels.
Laurie S. Sherman
If you are like me, you will feel very lucky if you decide to listen to this fine book and performance.With its refreshing lack of cynicism and the wonderful story of the lucky life of a man who has been well known to children, parents, ... pretty much every American.To me, Dick Van Dyke is both "Bert" from Mary Poppins and the great, loving Dad in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Of course I saw his iconic television shows often as a child and later as a young adult. But in both Mary Poppins and Chitty, Van Dyke story is an important part of my own reality at that time.His courageous "family-friendly" decisions about the parts and films he would perform are similar to the decisions that my father and uncle made for the same reasons during the same timeline (60s and onward). I well remember being embarrassed at school where I was teased because my Dad made kid's films. My friends' parents made "grown up" movies, while like Van Dyke, mine only did "kid's stuff." I find in hindsight, now as a mother with three kids and three step-kids, that my embarrassment was very misplaced and Van Dyke's decision to be a "family movie" actor, like the Sherman Brothers' decisions, were courageous (My father is one of the Sherman Brothers who Walt Disney introduced Dick Van Dyke to my Father and Uncle as the culmination of his initial introduction to the movie-in-progress to hear many of the Mary Poppins songs. This meeting and Dick's reaction to the whole project, especially the music, is beautifully described in My Lucky Life's Chapter called A Jolly Holiday. I was a pre-teen during that time. My Dad, Robert, the brother than Dick describes as the "quiet" one and Van Dyke were friendly.) Like Van Dyke, my father wasn't into the party scene, and as I listened to this autobiography, I found myself learning why these two naturally imaginative but not perfect men, both incredible creatives, were friends. I was often on the Disney lot during the filming of Mary Poppins as I was a professional singer from age 5 - 18.
I found that the author's description of Walt Disney was very similar to the way that I understood him. I was lucky enough to see Disney, Van Dyke and other actors, directors, animators, and more at work together.On my breaks from singing, I would visit my Dad and Uncle whose office was three doors down from Walt's in the old Animation Building.
Watching the intensive and interactive type of creativity that was pervasive on the Disney lot until Walt passed away taught me how to believe in myself as a creative person and also as a manager of creative people doing creative work, no matter the topic or
The book is read by Dick Van Dyke, which is an essential aspect of the book's excellence.His friendly, casual writing is augmented by his friendly, casual vocal work, combined with his perfect timing makes listening to this book a delight. He is not trying to be funny, and it is not a joke book. It covers serious subjects with a lightness. I tend to think that some of it is understated, or perhaps remembered more kindly than it was at the time, but that is part of the charm of the book and it's author.
This is an ideal "first read" because for most of us, Van Dyke is a "known quantity" and someone with whom we are comfortable. If Van Dyke is "in touch" with the threads and stories of his life as much as it seems in this book, he is blessed.
I think that this is the case, that Van Dyke is indeed lucky and also blessed.It also seems that he is aware of this. His story allows us into his life, his decisions and the lucky breaks that have made his life a lucky one. In my opinion, the author understates the problems he has had and the solutions which he has chosen. Audiences may feel that the "family G-rated observations" of experiences like substance abuse does bring down the reality of his telling a few points.
But how could he really help but to be Lucky? He was (and IS for each generation of children whose parents show them the Mary Poppins video or on line) a Chimney Sweep, and as we all well know "a sweep is as luck as lucky can be."
This is a light, breezy book in line with the author's own entertaining style. It is made more pleasant by the author reading it himself. What has made Dick Van Dyke such a likeable person is his self-effacement. He really seems to believe that luck rather than talent is the reason for his success. Certainly he was fortunate to team up with Carl Reiner but, viewing his work, one can say that Carl was as fortunate to find him. Surprising was his strong spiritual sense and sincere moral convictions. Unfortunate, in my opinion, was the lack of development in this area. The shallow soil of Tinseltown does seem to make it difficult for genuine spiritual growth. While he occasionally alludes to the demons with which he has dealt, he does not go into details. And that is just as well. Stories of the fall and redemption of celebrities are as boring as they are predictable. In this work one is impressed by the fact that, for the most part, the author has managed to keep these demons at bay. That he has also managed to survive as a genuinely good person in this narcissistic culture is itself impressive. There is hope yet for Hollywood.
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