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My Lucky Life in and Out of Show Business

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  11,379 ratings  ·  1,350 reviews
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 wri
Hardcover, 287 pages
Published May 3rd 2011 by Crown Archetype (first published 2011)
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Average rating 3.86  · 
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 ·  11,379 ratings  ·  1,350 reviews

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Dec 11, 2017 rated it liked it
I'm a big fan of Dick Van Dyke. Whenever I'm sick I watch The Dick Van Dyke Show and it makes me feel better. Growing up I would watch Diagnosis Murder with my mom and grandma. Dick Van Dyke has just always been a comfortable and family friendly tv star.

I've never really given much thought to Mr. Van Dyke's personal life. Before reading this book the only thing I knew about his life was that his son Barry starred along side him on Diagnosis Murder. If not for my bookclub I don't think I would h
Richard Derus
Dec 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I haven't read this book. I won't, in all likelihood, ever read it. But I grew up loving The Dick Van Dyke Show, and Mary Poppins, and and and...

But my coming here, finding this book, and rating it was in service of bringing the following quote to Van Dyke's legions of mildly interested fans:
In July 2016, Van Dyke said of Donald Trump, "He has been a magnet to all the racists and xenophobes in the country, I haven't been this scared since the Cuban Missile Crisis. I think the human race is hangi
Jun 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
I had every intention of writing my review the minute I finished this book, but it didn’t happen. In point of fact I put it aside, picking up my daughter and withdrew to the living where we turned on Mary Poppins. Watching her giggle and bounce to the music warmed my heart, but the insight offered by his biography made Van Dyke’s performance all the more endearing.

Van Dyke's dedication to family friendly entertainment is genuinely impressive and nowhere is that more evident in his descriptions
V. Briceland
Jun 07, 2011 rated it it was ok
Dick Van Dyke's celebrity memoir, spanning his career of sixty years, goes down like mayonnaise on white bread--unobjectionable, but hardly interesting. Everything passes by without much impact or examination. His work on the groundbreaking The Dick Van Dyke Show was fun. Mary Tyler Moore was a sweet gal. Walt Disney was a heck of a guy. Martin Luther King Jr. sure was swell.

It's a little odd that the most emotionally-resonant scene in the book (moreso than either his divorce or the death of a
Sep 05, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2011
As a rule I usually do not read memoirs because in reality not all famous people are good writers. But I wanted to make an exception here because as a kid I loved watching the Dick Van Dyke show and Mary Poppins. Well... I may not change my opinion on memoirs anytime soon.

Van Dyke writes the book in chronological order and you get to read about some of his rough times, how he grew up, and how sometimes he truly did get lucky. Some of the parts of the book I did enjoy were when he talked about hi
Feb 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've always liked & admired Dick Van Dyke. He's never been part of the Hollywood drama, always seemed like a genuine person, & has been a fixture on TV my entire life. He's also a great comedian, a great dancer, & a fun singer, so I really looked forward to this autobiography. There weren't any big surprises. It was a lot of fun getting a peek behind the scenes of some of his projects & other Hollywood icons like Stan Laurel & Buster Keeton. It's great to hear how active he still is. I also appr ...more
Feb 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an honest memoir penned by a humble, complicated, and imperfect man.

If you are a fan of The Dick Van Dyke Show (1960-1966), Diagnosis Murder, Strong Medicine, Mary Poppins, or any of the dozens of films and shows Dick did, I highly recommend giving this one a try.

I will admit to frowning at the circumstances surrounding his divorce, hence the above reference to his imperfection, but overall, his love for his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, as well as his enduring resp
Debbie Zapata
Dec 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019sundaze
Ever since I read The Official Dick Van Dyke Show Book, I have been entertaining myself during what I call Dinner Theater by watching episodes of that classic program on YouTube. I remember seeing many of them when I was little, but there is always so much more to notice now!

When I learned that Rose Marie had written an autobiography (Hold The Roses), I ordered and read it and when I stumbled across Van Dyke's autobiography the other day of course I had to order that too.

This is a friendly, ope
Dick Van Dyke is one of my favorite actors, but the book was sort of "meh". He was a trailblazer in show business, in radio, TV, and movies, but this book just wasn't hitting it. In an early part of the book, he describe a time he was performing for the Hollywood elite (which included Lucille Ball) and no one was laughing, and there was definitely no applause. That's about how I felt with the book. There were some interesting stories, and some chuckle-inducing ones, too, but overall, it was just ...more
Dick Van Dyke is, in some ways, just an overgrown kid from Illinois. He has a very Midwestern outlook on some things. That's the part of him we all know and love. Bert--Caractacus--Rob Petrie--that's the Dick Van Dyke you expect when you pick up this book, because that's the Dick Van Dyke who made you smile as a kid, who you sang along with and opened your little heart to. Yes, you know intellectually that they're not the same person, but your inner child will insist that they are anyway.

Sad to
Aug 28, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, audio
I struggle with giving this book a low rating: I mean, it is Dick Van Dyke! He is classic. He is defining. We all cheered loudly when he appeared in Mary Poppins Returns because he is, simply, an icon of multiple generations now. Picking up this book, my question was not if it would be great but how great.
The thing is...there is not much of interest here. Oh, I suppose as a recap of Dick Van Dyke's life it is interesting enough. He worked hard, embraced many cool opportunities, and overcame qui
Mike (the Paladin)
Jun 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
I sent for this book right after I read Tim Conway's bio. While I enjoyed that book more this is a good book.

There are some chuckles here but there is also a serious story of Dick Van Dyke's life in show business. I knew before I picked this up that he'd had a struggle with alcohol so it wasn't a shock but that is only part of the story.

Like many people the Dick Van Dyke Show was a staple of TV viewing in our home when I was a kid. After that he was always "around". That program stayed in synd
Versel Rush
Jul 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Van Dyke warns the reader in the first pages that if they are looking for scandals to look elsewhere. While including his now well documented alcoholism and his divorce, this is not a salacious tell all filled with backstage backstabbing. In fact, though he does cover his childhood and family life, “My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business” is more a series of stories by a true icon of American theatre, television, and movies.
The stories cover everything from his very early days in high scho
May 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
I always loved Dick van Dyke and now even more.

This book is an autobiography written by a humble, talented, humorous and sweet human being. Its honest, insightful and funny.

As so many entertainers/artists/actors, he was torn between his self-perception and his public image. Witch he desperately tried to live up to.

All trough the book you can feel the respect and love he and his fans shared, and his appreciation for it.

The anecdotes including Buster Keaton and Laurel and Hardy, show us that he wa
Nov 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
I barely read any non-fiction (outside of the technical writing found in information technology reference guides) in any given year. When I do branch out away from fiction, I prefer to read a biography, autobiography or memoir, or a history book, usually on a particular brief period.

I breezed through Dick Van Dyke's autobiography quickly, probably because it felt like he sat in my living regaling me with tales from his past in his engaging and witty manner. His charm and good will bubbled out o
Joe Martin
Jun 05, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
I've enjoyed Dick Van Dyke ever since I saw Marry Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang as a child. Later in life, I saw episodes of The Dick Van Dyke show and enjoyed them too. So, when I saw this book pop up in the library, I eagerly snagged it.

It was a very easy and engaging read. The book sounds exactly like Dick Van Dyke—as I read, I could easily hear his voice in my head and it sounded exactly like the Dick Van Dyke that I’ve heard in interviews before.

The book was the story of his life, mos
Jun 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
dick van dyke had a lot of choices in life. he had to choose between the wife who gave him several children, and a lover who gave him a listening ear, and the support he needed as an actor. he had to choose between being a star, and being a man who could share his films with his family.

but, most importantly, van dyke had to choose between himself, and the bottle. unfortunately, this book doesn't really go into the hardships he had with alcoholism. but, he gives credit where it's due . . to the s
Mary Blye Kramer
Feb 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
So it really didn’t take me as long to finish this book as it looks - I read a couple of chapters, laid it down, forgot about it, and when I picked up back up 2 days ago, whipped right through it. Here’s what I have to say: Dick Van Dyke is a wonderful, amazing, unbelievably multi-talented, down-to-earth human being. And yes, the book was well-written and fascinating.
Kate Woods Walker
It's an old-school celebrity memoir. As many have already noted in earlier reviews, My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business is told in the gosh-golly-gee-whiz voice of a PG-rated narrator who finds everyone and everything very nice.

I don't find this to be particularly objectionable. I pick up a book like this one to serve as a mental palate cleanser, and the likeable Mr. Van Dyke, now in his mid-eighties, has earned the right to present himself as a big bowl of orange sherbet if that's what he
Nathanael Smith
Apr 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I grew up watching Dick Van Dyke and enjoying all the entertainment he’s given people over the years, so honestly to read him talk about his life and to find out that he was actually a wonderfully decent person in real life was nice. There are a couple somewhat sad parts about his life, but even those just made him seem like a real human being who has dealt with his problems the best he can, and compared to other hollywood characters he made out fairly well. It was also a trea ...more
Dec 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
Celebrity memoirs are my guilty pleasure reading lately. I've always been a big fan of Dick Van Dyke, so this was a fun, quick read. Not a literary show stopper by any means, but I enjoyed reading a little bit about the behind the scenes of his tv shows and movies. I'd forgotten how much I loved Diagnosis Murder!
Callie *Fights Censorship*
Actual rating- 3 1/2 Stars

Starting off with the positive...
the following positive statements were originally written at the end of this review but I realized that the paragraphs preceding them made this book sound absolutely horrible and it isn't. In fact it was a very enjoyable read. So I've moved some of the positive lines to the beginning.

I absolutely loved listening to the narration of this audio book, it felt like Dick was sitting next to me. The voice and tone of the book seems very genui
Jul 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dick Van Dyke fans, and those who love family entertainment.
Recommended to Verona by: Gary Burgess, a friend.
I love Dick Van Dyke! And after reading his book, I like him even more. I appreciate his sticking to his goal of working only on projects that are wholesome and family entertainment. He tells his own story in this book, and I felt like he was telling it just to me. It was like he was talking to me and telling me his goals, his dreams, his values. It read like a conversation. He doesn't cover up any of his problems and issues; he tells it like it was. He doesn't sensationalize his getting help wi ...more
Troy Blackford
Oct 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A very interesting, well-organized look at the man's life. These stories always end up being more interesting than I expect. I like reading them from time to time because a lifetime of achievements and experiences is always something worthwhile. I've read autobiographies of people I knew far less about than Mr. Van Dyke, and I found this one a rewarding experience.
May 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
~ Cheryl ~
*Audiobook, read by the author*

Maybe 2 stars is an unfair rating. There was nothing wrong with this memoir. It was perfectly coherent, covered all the turning points in Van Dyke’s life and career. But it revealed an unpalatable side to his personality, and I don’t do well separating a celebrity’s personality from his body of work.

At the outset of the book, Van Dyke assures us, in that familiarly genial voice, that there is nothing salacious to be found in his memoir. Yet, a fair amount of what
Aug 23, 2020 rated it liked it
Dick Van Dyke is an entertainer for various generations--my kids have watched him in movies that came out when they were the right ages to enjoy them (The Night at the Museum films) and of course I grew up watching him in a few things that came out in my generation, and he had stuff coming out when my mother was growing up (but some of that was on radio and local TV so she never saw any of it). He's 95--older than my parents (born only 8 years after one of my grandmothers) and the same age as my ...more
Apr 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was such an entertaining book about Dick Van Dyke's life. I listened to the audiobook and it's actually read by him so it heightens the experience even more. There's so much I didn't know about him, including that he was a recovering alcoholic, or how much he struggled before making it big. He's worked with so many famous people and played some iconic roles. He didn't talk about Mary Poppins as much as I would have liked but I did enjoy that he went through everything chronologically instea ...more
Oct 04, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir, non-fiction
It’s interesting how the lives of all the autobiographies I’ve read during the month of May cross paths with each other. The month started out with Julie Andrews and left me frustrated because she was about to take on the movie role of Mary Poppins and she decided to end the book right then and there. Happily, Dick Van Dyke continued on where Ms. Andrews left off, and I was able to enjoy hearing about the making of the great Walt Disney film.

Dick Van Dyke has definitely had an interesting and lu
Feb 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015-reads
Who doesn’t remember Rob Petrie tripping over the ottoman at the beginning of the Dick Van Dyke show or Bert singing and dancing with penguins? Mr. Van Dyke tells the behind the scenes secrets that led to those iconic television and movie moments and that alone would have been enough to entice me to read this memoir. But this book is so much more.

Mr. Van Dyke shares his years as a boy and then young man growing up in the Midwest. He reveals joining the armed forces so that he could fly and how
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Dick Van Dyke, the star of Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and The Dick Van Dyke Show, has received five Emmy awards, a Tony, and a Grammy. In 2013, he received the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award. He is also the bestselling author of My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business. He lives in Malibu, California.

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