The Family of Dick Van Dyke Announces Heartbreaking Loss


Jerry Van Dyke, the younger brother of Dick Van Dyke, passed away Friday afternoon, weeks after the family’s last Christmas together.

His wife, Shirley, confirmed the news that he died at their Arkansas ranch this week, according TMZ.

According to Shirley, his health had been deteriorating steadily for two years after the couple was involved in a car accident.

Dick Van Dyke had reportedly visited Jerry and Shirley Van Dyke over Christmas, TMZ reported.

Jerry Van Dyke was a comedian, like his brother. As a young man, he pursued stand-up comedy and performed at military bases around the world.

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His acting career began on “The Dick Van Dyke” show, and he also appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and “The Judy Garland Show.”

Van Dyke earned four Emmy nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his role as Assistant Coach Luther Van Dam in “Coach,” where he acted with Craig T. Nelson.

His 50-year career on television also included guest appearances on Johnny Carson’s “Tonight Show” and David Letterman’s “Late Show,” Rolling Stone reported.

Van Dyke also turned down the role of Gilligan on “Gilligan’s Island” after he said the script was “the worst thing I’d ever read.”

“I never turned down anything but ‘Gilligan’s Island,'” he told The Associated Press in 1994. “I needed the work. But if I had to do over again, I definitely would have turned things down. Almost everything I did!”

His other major roles were Big Jimmy Hughes on “Yes, Dear” and Tag Spence on “The Middle.”

“The Middle” co-star Patricia Heaton tweeted her condolences to Dick Van Dyke and his family.

A “Coach” fan tweeted “Rest in peace, Luther Van Dam.”

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Jerry Van Dyke was 86-years-old. He is survived by his wife and two children.

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith