It’s hard to believe that with a career spanning eight decades, television and film icon Dick Van Dyke had never been on a daytime soap opera! That’s since changed now that the 97-year-old star of “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and “Diagnosis Murder” has taped a guest appearance on “Days of our Lives” where he’ll play a mystery man with amnesia. Van Dyke’s episode is set to air later this fall on Peacock.
While additional information about his character and storyline is currently being kept under wraps, news of Van Dyke’s heading to the fictional town of Salem came during last night’s episode of “Access Hollywood,” where he told the entertainment news show, “Drake [Hogestyn, who plays John Black] and I went to the same gym together. I used to kid him [asking], ‘Don’t you ever have parts for old people?’ And he took me seriously [laughs]. He got me a part!”
Van Dyke will appear in scenes alongside Hogestyn and Deidre Hall, who plays Marlena Evans on the soap. Sonja Blangiardo directed.
“I have played old men before, but comedy old men,” Van Dyke pointed out to “Access Hollywood,” adding, “[This is the] first time I ever just played my 97-year-old self.”
Although Van Dyke had no prior soap experience, he took lessons on how to get things right by watching an episode of the show. “I started watching them,” the actor says. “Some of those people have been doing it for 20 years. That’s about all the homework I could do was watch one and see how they did it.”
Outside of watching the show, Van Dyke also got some acting tidbits from fellow television icon Carol Burnett (“The Carol Burnett Show”), who herself made multiple appearances on “All My Children” in the 1980s as Verla Grubbs. Burnett even returned to be part of the ABC show’s final episodes in 2011. The actress turns 90 next week.
“Make sure you know all of your lines because they don’t do retakes,” pointed out Burnett on how soaps are produced differently from other TV genres. “If anything goes wrong, you’re stuck.”
Van Dyke appreciated Burnett’s comments and even wished her a happy birthday.
Watch clips from Van Dyke’s upcoming appearance on “Days of our Lives” below, courtesy of “Access Hollywood.”