Movie Star Memories: Dick Van Dyke

In this blog series, I’ll describe my impressions of various movie stars I’ve met over the years. Hope you enjoy reading about your favorites, and that you’ll be inspired to check out my Hollywood novel Dream Factory, which is available in both paperback and electronic formats through

Checking out of the New York Hilton hotel one morning back in 1985, I waited in line behind a man who was handling his own checkout transaction at the front desk, and as I listened to his conversation with the hotel employee, I noted that he was especially positive — a real gentleman who didn’t just go through the checkout process in a businesslike way, but took the time to speak encouraging words to the hotel staff.  I didn’t think anything else about it until the man turned around and I could see his smiling face: It was Dick Van Dyke.

Dick is known for often playing cheery characters onscreen (such as in Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) during his long and varied career. How nice it was for me to see that he displayed a positive attitude off the screen.

That positive attitude I saw from Dick years ago made news recently when he was rescued from his flaming car on a California freeway. Just a few hours after nearly dying, Dick tweeted a photo of his charred car and joked: “Used Jag for sale REAL CHEAP!!”

What a wonderful attitude!

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