Dick Van Dyke: shyness led to his alcoholism and his birthday flash mob! 18



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Dick Van Dyke has come out about his alcoholism at the age of 90 and admitted that his shyness is what started him on the road to alcohol abuse.

“A drink loosened me up.”

“What started me was that I was very shy — with strangers — I couldn’t talk to people,” the 90-year-old entertainment legend admits to Oprah in an interview. “And I found if I had a drink, it would loosen me up. The barriers went down and I became very social. That’s what got me started.”

He gets a lot of letters who say to him that all of a sudden they weren’t ashamed to admit they had a drinking problem and they got help, so he is not ashamed of having spoken openly about his issues.

The actor is a most memorable fixture in some of Hollywoods fabulous films like Bye Bye Birdie, Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in addition to The Dick Van Dyke Show and Diagnosis: Murder.

The veteran actor says that his struggle with alcoholism wasn’t easy to overcome. “It took me a long time to get over it.”

Van Dyke turned 90 in December and together with his 44 year old wife enjoyed an outing to Disneyland where he was delighted to “play” the day away.  His wife organised him a Mary-Poppins Flash Mob at an LA Shopping Centre that performed “Step in Time”, Jolly Holiday”, “Chim Chim Cheree” and”Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”

Van Dyke then joined them in singing “Let’s Go Fly a Kite.”

“I am very grateful that at 90 years old, I can still go out and play!” Van Dyke tweeted on Sunday.

The 90-year-old actor said on Entertainment Tonight that he is now telling his story of substance abuse to help others overcome similar issues.


Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson is the founder and publisher of Starts at Sixty. The daughter of two baby boomers, she has built the online community for over 60s by listening carefully to the issues and seeking out answers, insights and information for over 60s throughout Australia. Rebecca is an experienced marketer, a trained journalist and has a degree in politics. A mother of 3, she passionately facilitates and leads our over 60s community, bringing the community opinions, needs and interests to the fore and making Starts at Sixty a fun place to be.

  1. I hope you had an awesome birthday. Congratulations on turning 90😊 your shows were always a load of fun and family friendly.

  2. When I read he’d turned 90,I couldn’t believe it! This is a gorgeous tribute put on by his wife.Such fun,and it was lovely seeing him join in and enjoying every moment and looking so good!

  3. Thank you for telling your story you will help so many people, my mother is turning 90 on Tuesday, wishing a very happy birthday Dick 🎂🎁

  4. Beautiful !! Thank you Dick Van Dyke for all the wonderful entertainment and fun ..

  5. Dick Van Dyke’s face always makes me smile.
    Hard to believe that he is now 90. He gets better looking, all of the time!

  6. 90!!! And a 44 year old wife!! Well done, you old devil. And thanks for so many years of entertainment. Those prat falls of his in the DVD Show were just brilliant and made me laugh every time. Hope you had a great birthday – and many more to come.

  7. Wonderful to see Dick still enjoying the music! Pretty great at 90 to still remember the words! Love Dick Van Dyke, hope his addiction is well and truly under control these days.

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