The movie Mary Poppins first opened in 1964, so audiences have had a long time to get to know and love it. When a sequel, Mary Poppins Returns, came out in 2018 it relied on viewers knowing the original story characters. It also brought back one of the main actors from the original film – Dick Van Dyke, who played Bert. But even keen Mary Poppins fans may not know that Van Dyke had a second role in the movie. And he had to fight Walt Disney himself to get it. But now that the sequel is finally out, he’s talking about it.
Dick Van Dyke is 93 years of age now and he’s had a fascinating life. He’s a beloved actor who’s appeared in some big movies: Bye Bye Birdie, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the Night at the Museum franchise, and of course, Mary Poppins. He’s also been well rewarded for his work. He has a Grammy, a Tony and five Primetime Emmys.
In Van Dyke’s youth, though, he didn’t think of being an actor. Thanks to his religious background, he actually considered being a priest. “I suppose I never completely gave up my childhood idea of being a minister,” he wrote in his 2011 autobiography. “Only the medium and the message changed. I have still endeavored to touch people’s souls, to raise their spirits and put smiles on their faces.”