EXCLUSIVE: The 88-year-old TV legend has signed for a guest stint on the series about a group of mail detectives in the Dead Letter Office who will deliver every last lost and dead letter to its rightful owner just when the recipient needs it most. Dick Van Dyke will play the team’s supervisor in Episodes 3 and 4 of Hallmark Channel‘s comedic drama Signed, Sealed, Delivered. The revolving role will feature a different TV icon every two episodes, with Valerie Harper playing the supervisor in the first two. It’s created and executive produced by Martha Williamson, in her first series since Touched By An Angel wrapped in 2003.
Julie Andrews And Dick Van Dyke Light Up ‘Saving Mr. Banks’ Premiere As Disney Goes All Interactive With ‘Mary Poppins’ (Exclusive)
After earlier premieres at the London Film Festival in October and the AFI Film Fest at the Chinese Theatre in November where the original Mary Poppins premiered in 1964, Saving Mr. Banks, Walt Disney Studio’s big awards contender, finally had its official Los Angeles premiere on a cool December Monday night. It took place on the very Disney studio lot where much of the movie about the making of the 1964 classic was filmed (as well as Poppins itself). And just to add a touch of nostalgia and class itself the stars of Mary Poppins Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke joined the cast of Banks including Tom Hanks who plays Walt Disney and Emma Thompson who plays the cantankerous author of Poppins P.L. Travers. At a photo opp before the film the Banks cast members along with Andrews and Van Dyke and studio execs Bob Iger and Alan Horn all joined in a spontaneous rendition of the catchy tune from Poppins, “Let’s Go Fly A Kite” (watch here). Those singing along included the indefatiguable two-time Oscar winning co-writer of that song and the entire score, Richard M. Sherman.
At the post party in a completely made-over studio commissary Horn told me how pleased they were that Saving Mr. Banks had made the AFI Top Ten Movies Of The Year list released earlier Monday. When I asked how he felt about singing with all those iconic stars he said he can’t sing and in fact was banned from trying to carry a tune in church and everywhere else. Iger also marveled at the idea he was actually singing along with everyone and modestly just said ” let’s not count the eggs before they are hatched” when I suggested that the movie was a cinch to become the Disney studio’s first home grown live action Best Picture nominee since the original Mary Poppins 49 years ago, the one and only other time the studio had such a distinction.
The 85-year-old Sherman, who has been on cloud nine since this whole ride began, said it was completely “surreal” to be back on the Disney lot with Andrews and Van Dyke celebrating this whole experience. Only in Hollywood. There’s something about the movie that really has created a team spirit. At a Saturday night cast Q&A with Hanks, Thompson, Colin Farrell, Jason Schwartzman and Bradley Whitford I moderated after a SAG screening of the film, Hanks also led everyone in a rendition of “Let’s Go Fly A Kite”. Guess it is just a movie that makes people want to sing. Hanks and Thompson had also been doing Q&As earlier that day at BAFTA and for the Academy where I am told 700 members showed up for a 3 PM Saturday matinee. Certainly Disney, which has been having a great holiday season already with Thor and Frozen, is hoping they will be singing about Banks which opens nationwide on December 20th. I am told it is tracking well. Banks opens Friday with a special engagement at the Walt Disney Studio Theatre that includes a special studio tour of spots of where the films were made.
Though the media often refer to Outstanding Cast In A Motion Picture award as the Screen Actors Guild’s version of Best Picture, SAG balks at the comparison. The actors say their winners don’t always match up and in fact are strictly an honor for a cast. But Argo‘s big win in SAG’s marquee film category tonight is a Best Picture award. And there can be no question now that Argo is on a roll. Voters just seem to like this picture, and sometimes that’s all it takes. Right now its key rivals are probably beginning to feel like Argo is holding their Best Picture hopes hostage.
With the PGA win last night, and recent Critics Choice and Golden Globe wins for Picture and Director, Ben Affleck‘s 3rd outing as helmer is so far proving that three’s the charm. Those first two all-important Guild contests have very good predictive track records when it comes to Oscar. As someone connected with Argo‘s campaign emailed me tonight, “We’re making progress.” That’s an understatement. This morning one Academy voter who was angry after the directors branch snubbed Ben Affleck emailed this to me: “I voted for Argo for a SAG award. And if it wins tonight the world will see the all-powerful wizard: the Academy is not so smart.” Not surprisingly that same voter plans to give a first-place Best Picture vote to Argo – and …
LOS ANGELES (August 21, 2012) – Dick Van Dyke, beloved actor, singer, dancer, writer and comedian, will receive SAG-AFTRA’s highest honor – the SAG Life Achievement Award for career achievement and humanitarian accomplishment. 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 today’s 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.”
It’ll happen during the Screen Actors Guild Awards telecast on January 29. Mary Tyler Moore and Dick Van Dyke became TV icons on The Dick Van Dyke Show. Moore went on to form her own production company MTM with Grant Tinker and headined The Mary Tyler Moore Show, which spawned several character spinoffs including Lou Grant. Other MTM shows included The Bob Newhart Show, WKRP in Cincinnati, Hill Street Blues, The White Shadow and St. Elsewhere. Nominations for SAG Awards will be announced tomorrow at 9 AM on TNT.
Thursday night I had the honor of hosting the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences tribute to the legendary Carl Reiner, which also featured a surprise appearance at the end of the two-hour show from Carl’s Ocean’s 11, 12 & 13 co-star George Clooney who presented him with the enormous crystal trophy for his remarkable career in entertainment. The packed house (with an overflow turnaway crowd watching on video next door to the Academy’s Goldenson Theatre in North Hollywood) greeted him with a massive standing ovation after comedian Paul Reiser welcomed him to the stage. The star-studded tribute also marked the last official Academy event for Chairman John Shaffner as he noted in his opening remarks welcoming the crowd, Shaffner will turn over his job after next month’s election to a new Chair (Warner’s Bruce Rosenblum is running opposite current Vice-Chair Nancy Wiard).
I had previously hosted the Academy’s Betty White 60th Show Biz anniversary tribute and Bob Newhart’s 50th last year and this was another amazing night for a true show business icon, the indefatigable Reiner who at “89½” is well-deserving of this “mid-career tribute” as I noted in my own introductory remarks. He’a a man for all (TV) seasons and does everything including a lot of Master of Ceremonies gigs. “If Carl could host his own tribute tonight I’m sure he would,” I said before cueing the opening clip reel …