Forget Jagger, from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to Mary Poppins to The Dick Van Dyke Show to the Night at the Museum films, popular actor Dick Van Dyke has been entertaining audiences for decades. Turning 90 this December, the still spry Van Dyke seemed surprised by that fact, telling NBC News reporter Joe Fryer, “I can’t really get my mind around it. I don’t feel 90.”
The secret to his longevity? “Sing like nobody can hear you, dance like nobody can see you,” explained the Emmy, Tony and Grammy Award-winning performer, “Everybody should be singing and dancing. People tell me they can’t dance and they can’t sing. Everyone can. They might stink at it, but you gotta be able to keep moving!”
More than a life philosophy, Keep Moving: And Other Tips and Truths About Aging is the name of his autobiography filled with advice about aging. Practicing what he preaches, Van Dyke starts each day with a true enjoyment of life as well as a rigorous workout routine; arriving so early each morning the gym gave him his own key.
Expanding on the subject during an interview with NPR, Van Dyke said, “It’s more in my nature to be optimistic, I think. I’m one of those people who gets up on the right side of the bed in the morning. I get up and have a cup of coffee and go to the gym before I talk myself out of it because I will as anybody will.” And unlike his friend and collaborator for more than 50 years, actor/producer/director Carl Reiner, Van Dyke revealed, “I don’t seem to have any fear of [death]. You have to realize that you do have a terminal condition, but I very much live in the present and I really don’t worry much about it.”
The Hollywood legend also revealed that he didn’t discover dancing and singing until he was an adult in his 30s. While he had fun, he does regret he didn’t take any professional dance or vocal training. While he still enjoys working out, he now has arthritis and other physical ailments and has given up one of his passions, playing tennis. Recognizing that many senior citizens have to give up some of their favorite activities as they age, he still believes that everyone should find something they “enjoy doing, what fulfills you, what interests you… almost anyone can find that one immersing hobby or pastime that they love to do … and someone.”
And he is still singing and dancing, recently performing in an a cappella quartet called Dick Van Dyke and The Vantastix. And as than more than 2.7 million YouTube viewers of the music video for Dustbowl Revival’s “Never Had to Go,” can attest, we still enjoy watching him perform.
Talented and famous as he may be but Van Dyke hadn’t considered writing this book until approached by the publisher. Initially concerned about what he could write about aging, the grandfather told AVClub.com, “One day I started making some notes and I realized it was more than an exercise in health, that attitude was very, very important—openness of mind—and then I just kept writing and came up with a lot more than I thought I would….Walt Disney and I always said we were two children looking for our inner adults.”
What else keeps Van Dyke young, perhaps it has something to do with his 46-year-old wife, Arlene Silver-Van Dyke. The couple wed in 2012 and Van Dyke joked to the Today show, “Well, people come up to me and say, ‘Wow, she’s beautiful, is she your daughter?’ Or, ‘Is she your granddaughter?’ No, it’s my wife! Hugh Hefner, eat your heart out!”
He also said he was inspired by a recent story about a 100-year-old man who broke the world record for the 100-yard dash for 100-year-old people: 27 seconds. The song-and-dance man might not have been totally kidding when he claimed, “I’m going into training right now. I’m going to break that record.” Just keep moving, Dick, we’ll keep watching. To listen to the entire NPR interview, click below.
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