Dick Van Dyke, one of America's most beloved actors and known for roles in films such as "Mary Poppins" and "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" as well as the 1960s comedy series "The Dick Van Dyke Show," is set to receive the 2012 SAG Life Achievement Award.
The prize is screen performers' union SAG-AFTRA's highest honor. Van Dyke, 86, last year presented the award to Mary Tyler Moore, who played his wife on his sitcom.
The actor will receive the SAG Life Achievement Award at the 19th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on Jan. 27, 2013. The ceremony airs live in the cable channels TNT and TBS that day at 8 p.m. ET.
"Dick is the consummate entertainer - an enormously talented performer whose work has crossed nearly every major category of entertainment," SAG-AFTRA Co-President Ken Howard said in a statement obtained by OnTheRedCarpet.com on Tuesday.
"From his career-changing Broadway turn in 'Bye Bye Birdie' and his deadpan humor in the Emmy-winning 'Dick Van Dyke Show,' to his unforgettable performance as Bert in 'Mary Poppins,' he sets a high bar for actors," he added. "Stage, big screen, small screen, literally everywhere he has worked he has inspired millions of fans and has had a tremendously positive impact on the industry and the world. He is so deserving of this honor and I congratulate him."
Van Dyke was born Richard Wayne Van Dyke in West Plains, Missouri on Dec. 13, 1925. He worked in radio when he was in high school and in the Air Force, where he served for one year of duty. He then tried his hand at advertising before he pursued an acting career.
The actor married his high school sweetheart, Marjorie Willet in February 1948 on a network radio program called "Bride and Groom." They had four children. His wife died at age 36 in 1984. He recently remarried - Van Dyke and Arlene Silver, a 40-year-old makeup artist, tied the knot in February.
Van Dyke made his on-screen debut in 1957 with a small role on the sitcom "The Phil Silvers Show." He received his own comedy series, "The Dick Van Dyke Show," in 1961, following his Tony win. The show aired for five seasons and earned him three Emmy awards.
Van Dyke made his Broadway debut in November 1959, when he began playing Bert Lehr in the comedy-musical "The Girls Against the Boys." From 1960 to 1961, he played Albert, opposite Chita Rivera, in the musical "Bye Bye Birdie" and earned a Tony Award for his performances. He later reprised his role in a 1963 film adaptation of "Bye Bye Birdie."
But it was his performance as Bert, a chimney sweeper with a cockney accent, impeccable dance skills and a heart of gold, in "Mary Poppins" that launched him to international fame.
The Disney film, which stars Julie Andrews as the title character and his love interest, is one of the most popular children's movies. It won five Oscars and its soundtrack won a Grammy for Best Recording For Children. The film also spurred a Broadway musical.
Van Dyke went on to star in another children's movie classic - the 1968 musical "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang," playing Caractacus Potts, a quirky inventor and father of two, who creates a magical flying car.
In 1971, the actor starred in "The New Dick Van Dyke Show," which aired until 1974. That year, he played an alcoholic family man in the TV movie "The Morning After," which earned him another Emmy nomination. He won his fourth and latest Emmy three years later, for his short-lived variety show "Van Dyke and Company." He also appeared on "The Carol Burnett Show" between 1976 and 1977.
In 1980, he returned to Broadway to star in a revival of the musical "The Music Man." He also continued his TV work, with small roles on shows such as "Columbo," "Matlock," "The Golden Girls," "Sabrina, The Teenage Witch" and "Scrubs." In 2006, he played Cecil in the Ben Stiller comedy movie "Night at the Museum."
Between 1993 and 2002, Van Dyke played Dr. Mark Sloan on the crime drama series "Diagnosis Murder," which also starred his son Barry.
The two also starred in four "Murder 101" TV films, which aired between 2007 and 2008. His daughter Stacy and grandchildren, Carey, Shane, Wes and Taryn, appeared in several of them. Van Dyke's most recent on-air project was the 2012 TV special "Fun with Dick and Jerry Van Dyke," which stars his brother Jerry.