Van Dyke will be presented the performers union’s most prestigious accolade, given annually to an actor who fosters the “finest ideals of the acting profession,” at the 19th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, which premieres live on TNT and TBS on Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013, at 8 p.m. ET, 7 p.m. CT, 6 p.m. MT and 5 p.m. PT.
In making the announcement, SAG-AFTRA Co-President Ken Howard said, “Dick is the consummate entertainer — an enormously talented performer whose work has crossed nearly every major category of entertainment. From his career-changing Broadway turn in ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ and his deadpan humor in the Emmy winning ‘Dick Van Dyke Show,’ to his unforgettable performance as Bert in ’Mary Poppins,” he sets a high bar for actors. Stage, big screen, small screen, literally everywhere he has worked he has inspired millions of fans and has had a tremendously positive impact on the industry and the world. He is so deserving of this honor and I congratulate him."
SAG-AFTRA Co-President Roberta Reardon said: “With Dick, it’s so much more than the proverbial ‘triple threat.’ He started his career as a radio announcer, game show host and comedian and was a spokesman for Kodak, among numerous other roles over his nearly 60-year career. His contributions to the success of the business and to his fellow performers is legendary as is his work with a number of the leading ladies of our times, including Julie Andrews and Mary Tyler Moore — both previous Life Achievement Award recipients. His infectious laugh has warmed audiences for decades and is an unforgettable facet of his fabulous personality.”
Holder of five Emmys, a Tony Award and a Grammy, Van Dyke at 86 still possesses the zest for life that first propelled him into the limelight more than a half-century ago with the Broadway and film versions of “Bye Bye Birdie,” the seminal ’60s situation comedy “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and the film classic “Mary Poppins.”
For nearly twenty years Van Dyke has been tirelessly committed to his volunteer work at The Midnight Mission, Los Angeles’ century-old downtown shelter for the troubled and homeless. He helped raise millions for their new building program and is there without fail every Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and times in between offering comfort and cheer, often with the Vantastix and members of his own family. He is passionate about raising funds for music and art programs for public schools and has performed at countless fundraisers. He became a spokesperson for the National Reye’s Syndrome Foundation in 1967 after losing a granddaughter to that disease and in 2010 was named the first spokesperson for the Cell Therapy Foundation.