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Dick Van Dyke - Career & Financial Facts

dick van dyke1. When Dick Van Dyke was in kindergarten his mother gave him two nickels each morning. One for the 6 mile trolley ride to school and one for the ride back. However, he grew up during the Depression and his family was poor like everyone else's. He mentioned that occasionally his parents would get a second mortgage using the furniture as collateral. Page 12. Source

2. 16 year old Van Dyke was able to get a part time job as an announcer in a radio station because so many men had been drafted into the military. He was paid $8 per week. He worked after school and on weekends he worked 10pm to midnight.

3. One of Van Dyke's first acting jobs was a lip syncher. He was in a band that would play records and lip synch the song to audiences. His act was essentially a musical-comedy theatrical pantomine, but he also read the news, told jokes, and danced.

4. Dick Van Dyke wanted to marry his sweetheart but could not afford the wedding or honeymoon. So he applied to be on the radio show Bride And Groom. The show would tell the story of the couple and they would be married on the radio. The prize for being selected for the show was a fully paid honeymoon for the couple. Dick and Margie were married on February 28, 1948, on the radio with an estimated 15 million people listening in. Margie and Dick were so poor that they moved in with a friend and his wife. Page 30-31 Source

5. A little while after getting married Van Dyke bought a used car. It was a 1935 Ford Phaeton and cost $125. Why so cheap? It didn't come with a top or roof (or a second gear!), but at least he and his wife now had transportation. Page 31 Source

6. At one of his lowest points Dick Van Dyke was evicted from his apartment on the same day his wife was admitted to the hospital and miscarried. They were three months behind on rent. The hospital bill took up nearly the entire $85 they had saved and they used the rest to rent a space in a shack behind a hotel. Page 34 Source

7. After a show in Salt Lake City Dick ran into a very difficult financial situation. The owner of the club he performed in skipped town and did not pay him. His car broke down as well. He only had $30 and couldn't afford to pay the hotel or get the car fixed and had no way of getting home. His wife Margie took the $30 while Dick was sleeping in the hotel, went downstairs and bet it all on the blackjack table. She miraculously won enough to get the car fixed, pay the hotel, and get them home! Page 36 Source

8. Dick bought his first home with help from the G.I. Bill. Source

9. In 1954 Van Dyke was hired to work for the Jane Froman Show. He received a 7 year contract with a starting salary of $20,000. He said that was twice as much as he had ever made in a year. Unfortunately, he was fired 3 years later. Page 48 Source

10. Van Dyke sold shoes in his uncle's store on summer and was paid $3 a day plus a commission if he sold $100 or more worth of shoes. He stated he sold almost no shoes that summer! Page 107 Source

11. Dick Van Dyke once worked for Lucille Ball's Desilu TV studio. He was paid $1,500 per episode in 1961 for the Dick Van Dyke Show (produced by Desilu). Page 75. Source

12. In 1966 Van Dyke passed up the opportunity to buy a McDonalds franchise in Arizona for $25,000. He regretted that decision. Page 154 Source

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