Jerry Van Dyke, the younger brother of Dick Van Dyke and star of classic fiasco “My Mother the Car” and the considerably more successful “Coach,” died Friday afternoon at his Arkansas home. He was 86.Van Dyke’s wife, Shirley, said her husband’s health began deteriorating after they were both involved in a car accident two years earlier.
Born July 27, 1931 in Danville, Illinois, Van Dyke pursued his stand-up comedy career beginning in high school. During the mid-1950s, Van Dyke worked at WTHI-TV in and he performed at military bases around the world, twice winning the All Air Force Talent Show.
Following guest appearances on “The Dick Van Dyke Show and “Mister Ed,” CBS made him a regular on “The Judy Garland Show,” which aired in the 1963-64 season. He also hosted 1963 game show “Picture This,” and he made the rounds on the big screen in theatricals like “McLintock!,” “Palm Sprinmgs Weekend” and “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father.”
In 1963, Van Dyke turned down the offer to play Gilligan on “Gilligan’s Island,” a role that went instead to Bob Denver. And he also turned down the chance to replace Don Knotts on “The Andy Griffith Show.” Instead he chose aforementioned “My Mother the Car,” followed by another failed sitcom, “Accidental Family,” in 1967.
Next for Van Dyke was a roster of guest star appearances on sitcoms like “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “13 Queens Boulevard,” followed by his 1989 to 1997 stint as bumbling assistant coach Luther Can Dam (which resulted in four Emmy Award nominations for “Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series”).
More recently, Van Dyke made guest appearances as the father of Patricia Heaton’s character Frankie Heck.