Dick Van Dyke Actually Had A Second Part In Mary Poppins – But Disney Made Him Pay To Get The Job

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And Van Dyke has certainly done that. Prior to embarking on an acting career, though, he took drama classes at high school, following which he embarked on a period of service in the U.S. military as both a radio announcer and a Special Services entertainer. The future star was never actually permitted to serve in combat as he was below the minimum weight limit at the time.

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When Van Dyke made it into show business, however, it was in a big way, as he scooped the lead in a 1960 production of Bye Bye Birdie on Broadway. His lack of previous dancing experience didn’t stand in the way of him winning a Tony, either. After that, the actor went to TV and The Dick Van Dyke Show, during which he ultimately won the part of chimney sweep Bert in Mary Poppins.

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Walt Disney personally chose the actor, in fact. “I thought [Disney] hired me because I was such a great singer and dancer. As it turns out, he had heard me in an interview talking about what was happening to family entertainment,” Van Dyke told CNN in 2009. “That’s why he called me in, because I said something he agreed with.”

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