Dick Van Dyke kicked off his 90th birthday celebration with a Mary Poppins themed flash mob. The bash, which was planned by his wife Arlene Silver, was held at Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Although the celebration lasted two days, the flash mob was definitely the highlight of the weekend.
A versatile actor, dancer, and singer, Dick Van Dyke has appeared in numerous films and musical productions. However, his role in the 1964 film Mary Poppins was one of his most memorable.
Based on a series of books written by P. L. Traver, the musical fantasy film was unique — as the actors and actresses performed amid animated scenes and characters.
In the Walt Disney production, magical nanny Mary Poppins is portrayed by Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke portrays her close friend Bert. Throughout the film, Bert and Mary perform several musical numbers, including the infamous “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”
In honor of the actor, and his role in the film, Dick Van Dyke’s birthday flash mob performed a selection of songs and dance numbers from Mary Poppins — including “Chim Chim Cher-ee,” “Jolly Holiday,” “Let’s Go Fly a Kite,” and “Step in Time.”
As reported by CNN, Van Dyke was delighted with flash mob’s performance and even joined in with the singing. Via social media, the actor said he is “very grateful that at 90 years old [he] can still go out and play.”
A native of West Plains, Missouri, Richard Wayne Van Dyke was raised in Danville, Illinois. Although he originally aspired to become a minister, Dick discovered his passion for dancing and singing after joining the drama club in high school.
Despite the fact that he joined the United States Air Force in 1942, Van Dyke continued to pursue his interest in the entertainment industry. While enlisted, the talented young man appeared in several Air Force productions and worked as a radio show host.
Following his discharge in 1945, Dick moved to California to follow his dreams of becoming a professional performer.
Although he appeared in several Broadway productions, radio shows, and television series’ throughout the late 1940s and the 1950s, the actor did not get his big break until 1961.
As reported by Biography, Van Dyke was “a relatively unknown actor” when he landed his own television series — which was appropriately named The Dick Van Dyke Show.
The comedy series, which starred Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore, was broadcast for five seasons between 1961 and 1967. In addition to two Golden Globe awards and five Primetime Emmy Awards, The Dick Van Dyke Show won three Writers Guild of America awards.
— Culturalist (@Culturalist) December 14, 2015
Although he continued his work in movies, musical productions, and musical series, Dick Van Dyke made an impressive comeback at the age of 68 — when he was cast in the starring role of Dr. Mark Sloan in the television series Diagnosis Murder.
As reported by IMDB, Diagnosis Murder ran for eight seasons between 1993 and 1998, and was nominated for numerous awards, including a Primetime Emmy Award and several Image Awards.
Throughout his career, Dick Van Dyke won 4 Primetime Emmy Awards, a Daytime Emmy Award, and a Grammy Award. He was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1993.
In a recent interview with Huffington Post, Dick said he feels much better than he expected to at age 91. He also said he is “having the best time of [his] life.” During the interview, the acclaimed performer also offered a few words of advice for the younger generations.
“I would tell young people to stop worrying so much. Most of what you’re worried about never comes true. I read somewhere that worrying is a waste of your imagination.”
Dick Van Dyke’s birthday flash mob was a heartfelt and unique way to honor the beloved performer and his most memorable film.
[Photo by Paul Hiffmeyer/Disney Parks via Getty Images]