What Dick Van Dyke really thought of his on-screen wife Mary Tyler Moore

Considered one of televisions classics, The Dick Van Dyke Show centred on the life of Rob Petrie — a writer

Considered one of televisions classics, The Dick Van Dyke Show centred on the life of Rob Petrie — a writer on the fictional ‘Alan Brady Show’. Created by Carl Reiner, it starred Dick Van Dyke, while Mary Tyler Moore played his wife, Laura.

However, in a recent interview, Van Dyke reveals the iconic couple almost didn’t happen as he was apprehensive about having someone as young as Moore play his wife.

“I said, ‘She’s a little young isn’t she?’ Twelve years,” recalls Van Dyke, noting the age difference.

Yet Reiner said, “Nobody’s going to know.”

It’s true… It appears no one ever questioned the age gap and from the first time Van Dyke and Moore locked lips on-screen that was it, they were together.

The chemistry on-screen was just as powerful off it, and Van Dyke reveals he had one hell of a crush on Mary Tyler Moore.

Could things have been different if the two weren’t already in other relationships? Reiner seemed to think so.

“They were really attracted to each other,” he said.

Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore were so in tune with one another that they almost didn’t need a script to perform.

“You could just tell us a scene and we could make it up,” Van Dyke says. “She read me very well, and I read her timing very well, and it was just such a pleasure to work with her.”

After 50 years ‘off the air’ United States network CBS recently broadcast two episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show in colour. Episodes ‘That’s My Boy??’ and ‘Coast to Coast Big Mouth’ aired back to back on Sunday, December 11.

“I discovered I had brown hair!” Van Dyke laughed. “Everybody thought I had black hair.”

Were you a fan of The Dick Van Dyke Show? What did you think of the chemistry between Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore? What was your favourite episode?

  1. Diane Hedges  

    It was my favourite when I was a teen!

  2. Diane Hedges  

    It was my favourite when I was a teen!

  3. Jennifer  

    Loved this show and still do. I watch it whenever I can find it on. One of my most favorite episodes is “100 hours”

  4. Steve Bowell  

    I had a favourite writing team: Bill Persky and Sam Denoff. And since the writing credits were at the end of the show (is it a Writers’ Guild rule that requires them always to be at the beginning now?) I would watch the show, and if it seemed to be extra sophisticated that week, I’d think, “Ah, I’ll bet this is a Persky & Denoff script,” and I was almost always right.

    As for favourite episodes, they were the ones where Rob & Laura would perform at some party, sometimes at their own place, sometimes at Alan Brady’s penthouse. It made me think that maybe I didn’t have to become a famous performer myself: maybe if I could just get a job on the fringes of show business (like comedy writing), I could marry someone like Laura Meehan Petrie, and then we could perform that way.

    It never occurred to me, hey, wait a minute: who are those people on piano, bass and drums? Friends of the family? When would they have gotten together with Rob and Laura to rehearse such an obviously well-rehearsed bit? And wouldn’t such rehearsals be constantly interrupted by Ritchie, either because he didn’t like it or he liked it so much he wanted to get into the act? And why was Ritchie so conveniently out of sight whenever there wasn’t a speaking part for Larry Mathews that week?

    Later I did some small-time acting, and went to some actors’ parties, and found out that to actors, performing is work, and who wants to work at a party? And I realized that the performance parties on the Dick Van Dyke Show were there only because the producers had Van Dyke, Moore, Amsterdam and Rose Marie under contract, and it was foolish not to use their talents to the maximum.

    In short, the entire premise of the Dick Van Dyke Show was dishonest, and if Carl Reiner is still alive I hope he comes to Vancouver, so I can punch him in the nose.

  5. Ivelisse Martinez  

    I am still a fan & would watch if it was on again,

  6. Nancy Papa  

    This was my all time favorite show! I had such a crush on Dick Van Dyke. Mary Tyler Moore was just superb as was all the other actors!

  7. Patti  

    My favorite episode was when Rob was hypnotized and became a roaring drunk every time the phone rang.

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