Of Dick Van Dyke's many talents, the most remarkable may be the moment you think about him, you smile.
The affable actor, singer and dancer has that effect on audiences. His colleagues think highly of him, too. They're bestowing upon him the Life Achievement Award at the 19th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, airing on TNT and TBS at 7 p.m. Sunday.
Although his former co-star Mary Tyler Moore took this honor last year, Van Dyke says, “It never occurred to me I might be next. It was a total surprise to me. I found out a couple of months ago. They told me, and I just couldn't believe it. It was another surprise in a career of surprises.”
Few people realize that Van Dyke, 87, started with Walter Cronkite. Van Dyke wouldn't come right out and say he was proud of his career, which continues with his singing quartet, The Vantastix.
“I am just startled every time I look back,” he said. “I never expected that to happen. I thought I would be an announcer on television. I was an anchor on a CBS morning show; Walter Cronkite was my newsman. I was no good at it.
“It was a bad start. I tried a game show for a while. That was no good. I would run out and audition for Broadway shows. I got into a revue with Bert Lahr, which flopped, and got into ‘Bye Bye Birdie' and changed my life forever.”