Jerry Van Dyke Dies; Emmy-Nominated Actor Was 86

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Jerry Van Dyke, a veteran actor and the younger brother of iconic comedian Dick Van Dyke, died on Friday afternoon at his ranch in Arkansas.

He was 86 years old.

Jerry Van Dyke

According to Jerry's wife, per TMZ, the actor passed away with her by his side. 

The exact cause of death is unknown at this time, but the couple had been in a car accident two years ago and Van Dyke's health had sadly gone downhill ever since.

A native of Danville, Illinois, Van Dyke got his start on television by making appearances on The Dick Van Dyke Show, the beloved sitcom that starred his real-life older sibling.

He also made appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show and The Judy Garland Show early on in his career.

Prior to dedicating his professional life to acting, Jerry pursued stand-up comedy as a young man and performed at military bases around the globe.

on coach

Van Dyke has a very long and impressive resume, but he's likely best known for his role as Assistant Coach Luther Horatio Van Dam on the TV sitcom Coach, which earned him four Emmy Award nominations.

The series ran from 1989 to 1997.

It was anchored by Craig T. Nelson.

Coach centered on the fictional Minnesota State University Screaming Eagles and it often featured guest appearances by professional football figures such as Troy Aikman, Dick Butkus and Jerry Jones, as well as actors like Lucy Liu, Drew Carey and Mary Hart.

Van Dyke's Luther was an assistant coach who was known for his bumbling ways and occasional moments of pathos.

This is a photo of him from the show:

coach picture

His final small screen appearance took place on ABC’s hit show The Middle in 2015.

Well aware of his brother's enormous fame, Jerry said the following to USA Today back in the 1990s:

"I was always known as Dick Van Dyke's brother and the guy that did My Mother the Car. Now people know me that never knew me before, that don't even know Dick. That's really a thrill."


He maintained this kind of sense of humor throughout his career.

“If I had it all to do over again, I definitely would have turned things down,” he told The Associated Press in 1994, adding:

“Almost everything I did!” 

And then there was this, to The Toronto Star that same year:

“I’m getting sick of Dick riding on my coattails. I just can’t prop up his career forever."

Jerry Van Dyke is survived by two kids and his wife.

May he rest in peace.

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