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Gossip & Rumors: ‘i Have To Be Careful’

GOSSIP & RUMORS: ‘I have to be careful’

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Dick Van Dyke got sober more than 50 years ago, but he still has to keep himself in check.

The 98-year-old Hollywood legend appeared on Wednesday’s episode of the Hollywood Reporter’s “Awards Chatter” podcast, and was asked if he thinks the intense fame he experienced in the 1960s from his namesake sitcom led to him becoming an alcoholic.

“I don’t recall that it did, because I’ve known performers who had to have a slug the minute the show was over. But I never needed that,” Van Dyke said.

Van Dyke at a charity event in 2008 Getty Images

“I don’t know what started it,” he said. “Hanging out with the wrong crowd, I think.”

THR reporter Scott Feinberg pointed out that sometimes genetics can be a cause for alcoholism.

“I obviously am a natural,” Van Dyke admitted.

The four-time Emmy Award winner said that his addiction started when he was a teenager.

“In high school, I hung around with some guys who smoked. I didn’t. But they finally got me to take one and in no time [it took],” he said. “So I have to be careful.”

Van Dyke has been sober since checking into a hospital for three weeks in 1972.

Van Dyke at Carol Burnett’s handprints-in-cement ceremony last week, on June 20 Getty Images

Two years later, Van Dyke starred in the film “The Morning After” as a successful public relations writer who develops a serious drinking problem.

He said that role was “one of the most good” he ever did in his career.

“The number of people who decided to quit [drinking] because in the show the guy doesn’t make it,” he shared.

Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore Bettmann Archive

In 2016, Van Dyke told Oprah Winfrey that he found alcohol to be a way to overcome his shyness.

“I was very shy — with strangers — I couldn’t talk to people,” he said at the time. “And I found if I had a drink, it would loosen me up. The barriers went down, and I became very social. That’s what got me started.”

Van Dyke is now sober and maintains a healthy lifestyle. He famously hit the gym the day before his 98th birthday in December.

Van Dyke at the D23 Expo in 2019 The Walt Disney Company via Getty Images

He talked about his fitness regimen with Forbes last month.

“It’s getting more important,” he said. “I’m only about five months from 99, so I find it the legs — I would tell everybody who’s getting old — get your legs together. If you’re going to get around, you’re all right, and that’s what I’m working on.”

The TV icon also said that his active lifestyle is why he’s lived for so long.

“My mother lived within months of 96 — everyone else went in their 60s and 70s. I put a book out years ago called ‘Keep Moving,’ so I still exercise every day. We try to go to the gym and do a little bit of light weight training and everything. I believe that’s it — keeping moving,” he said.

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