What’s Age Got To Do With It?

Make my day: make me smile. Photo by: Scott West

Dick Van Dyke isn’t the oldest fella to get married, but at 86-years old he’s certainly one of a unique group of guys.

On February 29, 2012, that’s leap day, if you missed it, he took the plunge and married Arlene Silver, a 40-year old makeup artist, whom he’s known for several years.  The small, private ceremony was held at a Malibu chapel near his home.

Dick says of his bride, “I was bowled over by her beauty.”  She loves to sing, too, but it’s hard to believe that she can keep up with the song and dance man of Broadway, movies, and television, even if he is more than twice her age.

Arlene says of her spouse, “Dick is the happiest person I ever met. He’s got an infectious spirit.”

Van Dyke deserves to be happy.  After all, he made us happy.

We adored him as Albert Peterson, the struggling songwriter with the overbearing mother, singing “Put on a Happy Face” in Bye Bye Birdie, and we wished that Bert, the chimney sweep Van Dyke played in Mary Poppins, were our friend, too.  Just try saying,  “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.” Now try spelling it.

We loved him as Rob Petrie on the Dick Van Dyke Show, whether he was trading quips with his fellow comedy writers at work or attending to domestic crises, which really weren’t crises, at home.  Can’t you just hear Mary Tyler Moore as his wife Laura sighing in exasperation, “Oh, Rob”?

Nor was he a bad dad in Diagnosis: Murder.  He played a doctor who did double duty as a police consultant, helping his son, a detective on the force, solve crimes.  It was one of his real-life sons, too.

Van Dyke’s first marriage in 1948 produced four children. He and his wife separated in the seventies and divorced in 1984.  Well, it happens.

Dick took up with Michelle Triola Marvin, whose lawsuit against Lee Marvin, to whom she wasn’t married, brought the word “palimony” into the lexicon.  She loved show business as much as he did, and they were together for thirty years until her death in 2009.   They had only a contract, not a license, to protect them, if it didn’t work out, but it did.

This is a guy who likes being in a relationship.  May Dick and Arlene have a long and happy one.  And the rest of us should take notes.

© 2012 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved


Put on a happy face with Dick Van Dyke:

Sing along with Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke:


  1. I absolutely agree. It’s nice to see them both looking happy. I did at one stage think that he might pop the question to Mary Poppins but he was too slow off the mark … too busy sweeping chimmneys and suchlike.

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