Ancestry of Dick Van Dyke

Ancestry of Dick Van Dyke

Ancestry of Dick Van Dyke


This article should be cited as : "Ancestry of Dick Van Dyke", by Will Johnson,, Professional Genealogist, copyright 2009, All Rights Reserved.

This article is one in my series "Celebrity Family Trees".
The numbers in front of the names are assigned using the Ahnentafel method.

The ancestry of Dick Van Dyke is hard to tweeze out.  This is partly because there are hundreds of online pages which simply parrot each other and provide nothing useful to track his ancestry back further.  Many sites will state that his parents were Loren Van Dyke and his wife Hazel McCord.  When searching the relevant records for Loren Van Dyke very little is found.  Something is a miss here, but what?  We'll see.

1 Dick Van Dyke

Richard Wayne "Dick" Van Dyke was born 13 Dec 1925 in West Plains, Howell County, Missouri, the eldest child of L Wayne Van Dyke and his wife Hazel.  His younger brother Jerry Van Dyke was born 5 1/2 years later while the family was living in Danville, Vermillion County, Illinois. Dick says "I was raised and my family came from Danville, Illinois... My father worked for the Sunshine Biscuit Company...he was a salesman, on the road".

The interviewer asks him, "What brought you to Danville?", and Dick responds, "Well that was really where my dad was from."  Dick states that both his parents and his brother were very funny and that he was actually the least funny of them all.

Supposedly having a heart condition, one year Dick could not go out for the track team, so he took a part in a school play.  He also sang in the school choir.  His brother Jerry was an athlete in school, not interested in acting at that time.  Since most of the radio announcers were getting drafted, Dick, at only 16, got a job working in radio, as a disc jockey and newsman.  He states that his parents left him alone to make his own career decisions, and were always very proud of him.

Toward the end of WWII, Dick went into the pilot training program in the Air Force, but since the war was winding down, so was the program and so he got into special services, doing shows.  Returning to Danville about 1946, Dick got a job on the radio, and also acted in local plays.

Dick and a friend Phil Erickson from the same town (but four years older), later went to Los Angeles with an act "The Merry Mutes", to play in nightclubs.  The act was lip-snyching to popular music as satire.  Later while on the road, they played in Atlanta, Georgia where they both fell in love with the area and bought houses.  Dick's two sons were both born in Atlanta.  Dick and his partner had a television program for a while.

After being in Atlanta for some time, and a short stretch in New Orleans, Dick moved to New York City where he worked on The CBS Morning Show with Walter Cronkite for three years.

Watch for free, Dick Van Dyke in

Mary Poppins (1964), fantasy musical added (again) 7 Dec 2010
    starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke
    also starring Glynis Johns, David Tomlinson, Ed Wynn
Julie Andrews, possessing magical powers, becomes the nanny for two small children, whose father is a stiff, straight-laced banker, and whose mother is a slightly-ditsy Suffragette.  Dick Van Dyke plays her sometime boyfriend.  Ed Wynn in a small part as "Uncle Albert", whose uncontrollable laughing makes him float.

Sources for 1

2 Loren Wayne Van Dyke

In the records there are two men named "Loren Van Dyke" and researchers have confused them with each other.  I am still looking for the primary source which states that his father's name was "Loren".  A People magazine article on Jerry Van Dyke from 1993, just calls their father "L W", but Dick in a 1998 interview states that his father's middle name was "Wayne", same as his. An article in People from 1998 states Loren.

"As a boy growing up in Danville, Ill., Van Dyke was always shy, despite his gregarious parents. Loren "Cookie" Van Dyke was a traveling salesman for the Sunshine Biscuit Company, "but he should have been in show business," says his son. "He was just a natural comedian." Both Dick and his kid brother Jerry (later a star of TV's Coach) credit their father and their mother, Hazel, a good-humored housewife, with inspiring their own comic sensibilities." ("Senior Class" by Michael Lipton, "People", 14 Dec 1998)

3 Hazel Vorice McCord



Sofar I have not been able to find out any more from any website; only some stuff from the female side (decendants from the Mayflower) maybe I do not search right?
Help me further IF you can folks!

Bert van Dyk - 27 Oct 2010

A bit hard to do that from Australia! Besides I'm not THAT keen! would be fun to know however, but to spend a lot of money on it? I don't think so....
If I could get hold of his forebears since say 1800 for 20 bucks or so I would but that is not likely to happen as I doubt anybody can dig that up, seems to be (purposely?) well hidden!

Bert van Dyk - 27 Oct 2010

Only one to five percent of everything we know is online. You need to go offline and start collecting obituaries, death certificates, marriage licenses and so on.

Will Johnson - 27 Oct 2010