Dick Van Dyke to get SAG achievement honor

Aug. 21, 2012 at 11:25 AM
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LOS ANGELES, Aug. 21 (UPI) -- Actor-comedian Dick Van Dyke is to receive a Hollywood life achievement award for his career and humanitarian accomplishments, the actors guild said Tuesday.

The 86-year-old "beloved actor, singer, dancer, writer and comedian" will receive the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award at the 19th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards Jan. 27, the SAG-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists performers union said.

SAG and AFTRA merged March 30.

The event will air live on TNT and TBS.

The annual award, which predates the first Screen Actors Guild Awards by 33 years, goes to an actor "for outstanding achievement in fostering the finest ideals of the acting profession."

Van Dyke -- who was born Richard Wayne Van Dyke in West Plains, Mo., and grew up in Danville, Ill. -- has also received five Emmys, one Tony Award and a Grammy.

"Dick is the consummate entertainer -- an enormously talented performer whose work has crossed nearly every major category of entertainment," actor and SAG-AFTRA Co-President Ken Howard said in a statement. "From his career-changing Broadway turn in 'Bye Bye Birdie' and his deadpan humor in the Emmy winning 'Dick Van Dyke Show,' to his unforgettable performance as Bert in 'Mary Poppins,' he sets a high bar for actors.

"Stage, big screen, small screen, literally everywhere he has worked he has inspired millions of fans and has had a tremendously positive impact on the industry and the world. He is so deserving of this honor and I congratulate him."

Co-President Roberta Reardon said: "With Dick, it's so much more than the proverbial triple threat. He started his career as a radio announcer, game show host and comedian and was a spokesman for Kodak, among numerous other roles over his nearly 60-year career.

"His contributions to the success of the business and to his fellow performers is legendary as is his work with a number of the leading ladies of our times, including Julie Andrews and Mary Tyler Moore -- both previous Life Achievement Award recipients," she said. "His infectious laugh has warmed audiences for decades and is an unforgettable facet of his fabulous personality."

SAG-AFTRA said Van Dyke has volunteered for nearly 20 years at the Midnight Mission human services organization in downtown Los Angeles' Central City East, a neighborhood with one of the largest populations of homeless people in the country.

"He helped raise millions for their new building program and is there without fail every Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and times in between offering comfort and cheer," SAG-AFTRA said.

"He is passionate about raising funds for music and art programs for public schools and has performed at countless fundraisers.

"He became a spokesperson for the National Reye's Syndrome Foundation in 1967 after losing a granddaughter to that disease and in 2010 was named the first spokesperson for the Cell Therapy Foundation."

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