Actor Dick Van Dyke has been a long-standing industry treasure since he first graced our screens in the 1940s. Memorably, he starred in the original 1961 production of “Bye Bye Birdie,” which earned him a Tony Award. Van Dyke also starred in his series, “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” which ran throughout the early ’60s, making the actor a television staple in households across the country. Audiences would later see Van Dyke perform in such classics as “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” and “Mary Poppins,” two roles that endeared him to a generation of children.
Van Dyke’s career would go on to span a staggering seven decades, with the seasoned actor continuing to work well into his golden years. Over time, this dedication to his craft earned Van Dyke countless awards, including five Primetime Emmy Awards, one Tony, and a Grammy Award. Additionally, Van Dyke was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1995 and was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1993. In 2013, Van Dyke received the Screen Actor Guild’s highest honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award. He was also awarded the illustrious Kennedy Center Honors in 2021.
Van Dyke has been a revered icon in the entertainment industry; his legacy in comedy and television has inspired a plethora of comedians and entertainers well beyond his years. Some of the people who have cited him as an influence were Chevy Chase, Conan O’Brien, Jim Carrey, Bryan Cranston, and even Steve Martin.
Already 97 years old, one would think that Van Dyke would already be incapacitated to perform or even appear on television. But, Van Dyke defied the odds as he surprised everyone, including the judges of “The Masked Singer,” when host Nick Cannon unveiled him at the Season 9 Premiere of the show.
Be sure to reach the end of this article to see the full video
Van Dyke was born on Dec. 13, 1925, in West Plains, Missouri. He grew up in Danville, Illinois, and is the son of Hazel Victoria and Loren Wayne Van Dyke.
When he was young, Van Dyke first considered a career in ministry. However, he took a drama class in high school that made him fall in love with acting. Van Dyke then decided to become a professional entertainer, having always loved singing and dancing since he was a child.
As a performer, Van Dyke is known for his physical comedic acting abilities, having been described as elastic-limbed with impeccable timing. On his characteristic talents, Van Dyke said:
“I had always been an admirer of Buster Keaton and Laurel and Hardy. So as a kid I practiced falling. And I had worked it all out.”
Up until now, Van Dyke’s wit, comedic timing, and command of the stage remained.
“Just ask the producers, I really had done it all. I’ve joked with the cleverest comedians, from Robin Williams to Ben Stiller. I performed with the biggest names in music, from Lin Manuel Miranda to Madonna,” the Gnome revealed the clues to his identity. “But there’s always more to do, especially when your working for the fun of it, because being a true entertainer isn’t about money or awards – it’s about going to bed every night, having to put a smile on someone’s face and being proud of what you’ve done.”
In the latter part of the episode, the Gnome was revealed. Judges Robin Thicke, Nicole Scherzinger, Ken Jeong and Jenny McCarthy had differing opinions – Robert DeNiro, Dustin Hoffman, and even Tony Bennett.
But as soon as Cannon took off the mask, everyone was shocked to see Van Dyke get out of the huge gnome costume. Cannon then asked him what he felt performing inside the costume.
“You can’t see anything. I just love that they thought I was Robert De Niro. I didn’t know Robert De Niro could sing, to tell you the truth,” he joked.
Scherzinger was taken aback with Van Dyke’s presence.
“I love you so much. The whole world loves you so much. It’s an honor to have you on our show. I can’t believe you’re here. I’m trying to play it cool. You look so gorgeous; you look so handsome!” she admitted while being moved to tears. “I love Dick Van Dyke!”
Jeong, who gave the man a standing ovation, gave Van Dyke his flowers, saying that he was the reason why he went into comedy in the first place, dubbing him as the GOAT – the greatest of all time.
Fans have taken to the clip’s comment section on YouTube, expressing their emotions on the emotional reveal.
“Brought me to tears, how amazing. I was also convinced it was Dustin Hoffman even before the judges guessed that. Glad I was wrong, it was so great to see this 97-year-old legend!” one person commented.
“The most legendary contestant ever to appear on this show. Holy smokes,” another declared.
“He is a icon and he still can dance at 97! I love him so much,” a fan shared.
“This was the best unmasking ever! This brought me to tears!! I love him!!” another user confessed.
Are you a fan of Dick Van Dyke? Isn’t his performance incredible? What can you say about his unmasking? Let us know, and pass this on to your friends, family, and other loved ones who you think would enjoy watching him!