He was a comedian and actor as well as the younger brother of Dick Van Dyke. He died Friday at his ranch in Arkansas. Though not as popular as his brother he certainly had a long career. Even in high school Van Dyke was trying his hand at stand up which was perfect since he was the class clown.
Most first saw Jerry Van Dyke in the early 60’s on the The Dick Van Dyke Show playing his real-life brothers brother. When the roles were thing he did stand-up including his banjo-and-comedy stage act. He was also known for his contributions to The Judy Garland Show and hosting the game show “Picture This.” He made a living by being silly including 1965’s “My Mother the Car,” a short lived TV series about Van Dyke’s mother dying only to come back as he consciousness of the car. It was, after all, the era of “I Dream of Jeannie” and “Bewitched.”
His luck certainly changed in 1989 when he got the role of the dim-witted sidekick to Craig T. Nelson in television’s Emmy-nominated role in “Coach.” The series ran for 9 seasons. Nelson said “I am incredibly sad to hear of Jerry’s passing. He was such a brilliant comedian and we had a great time working together on Coach. It is just devastating news.”
He was born on July 27, 1931, in Danville, Illinois. He once said that at the age of eight he firmly decided that his vocation would be comedy. Before show business he was a travelling salesperson. He probably made house calls a memorable occasion.
He was in the air force in the 50’s and latter appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, , Perry Mason, The Andy Griffith Show, My Name Is Earl and Raising Hope. And The Middle with his brothers. They appeared together many times including Dick’s 90’s show “Diagnosis Murder.”
Jerry’s wife, Shirley Ann Jones, said he had been sick for the last few years. – by John Beaudin
John Beaudin has been in major market radio (Edmonton, Vancouver & Calgary) for 33 years and a music journalist since 1989. He graduated from Broadcasting school as a news man so he would have the skills to write about the artists that inspired him since he bought his first album, “Madman Across The Water” by Elton John as a teen. In the 80’s Beaudin was the host of the syndicated radio show “The Cross Canada Report” which had two version (Rock and A/C). Beaudin was also asked to be a judge at the Juno Awards (Canada’s answer to the Grammys) Twice. He has anchored every position in radio including morning and afternoon drive and was a Program and Music Director for The Breeze and California 103 in Calgary. He currently hosts the popular Lovesongs at QM-FM in Vancouver and on iHeartRadio.
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