A Lesson In Life From Dick Van Dyke - Los Angeles Local News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

From Anchor Tony McEwing

A Lesson In Life From Dick Van Dyke

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We could all learn a lesson in life from Dick Van Dyke. Come what may, the 87 year old never seems to lose his sense of humor. Granted he's made a fortune over the decades, much of that because of his talents as a comedic actor with impeccable timing. But Van Dyke is not just a man who has used humor to make a great living, it seems to be a way of life. Because of his immense talent, good-natured genuineness and generosity, Van Dyke commands the highest respect in an industry rife with backstabbing, bloated egos and the worst kind of cynicism.

What happened to Van Dyke yesterday is a perfect case in point. He was driving his Jaguar on the 101 freeway when his car caught fire. A good samaritan stopped and pulled the entertainer out of his car to safety just seconds before it exploded in flames, likely saving him from serious injury or death. Only seconds afterward, a visibly grateful Van Dyke thanked his rescuer who had already left the scene and joked about his near death experience. Later he even tweeted that he had a "used Jaguar" for sale.

For those who know Van Dyke, this isn't flippant or unusual behavior. It's who he is and who he's always been. Even in the face of pain and tragedy, he seems to always search for the silver lining. Van Dyke is known for numerous movies and television series, including Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Dick Van Dyke Show and Diagnosis Murder just to name a few. During his nearly nine decades on the planet, he's experienced hard financial times, a miscarriage, divorce, the death of a significant other from cancer along with phenomenal success in Hollywood. Through it all, Van Dyke has never changed, keeping his sense of humor and humanity firmly intact.

While Van Dyke is not a personal friend, I feel as though he is. A small number of people just have the ability to make you feel that way. He's one of them. Every time I've run into him anywhere, I feel great about the encounter. And he is a man whose heart is as huge as his talent. I work as a volunteer at the Midnight Mission on skid row in Los Angeles helping the homeless. Few people know that Van Dyke is one of the mission's biggest contributors. And he doesn't just donate money, he also gives his time. It's not unusual to see him at the mission eating lunch or dinner and chatting with the homeless men who come there for help.

Yes, Dick Van Dyke is a wildly successful entertainer. But his most impressive accomplishment, as far as I can tell, is that he's just an awesome human being.

If you want to see Van Dyke when he was in our Google+ hangout, here's the link.

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