Dick van dyke poppins

How 91-year-old Dick Van Dyke danced madly on that desk in ‘Mary Poppins Returns’

Bryan Alexander USA TODAY Published 3:27 PM EST Jan 5, 2019

Those aren’t film tricks or special effects. That truly is Dick Van Dyke, 91 at the time, dancing up a storm on a desk in “Mary Poppins Returns.”

The climactic moment, teased in the film’s trailer, is a showstopper for Van Dyke, and one of two memorable appearances by legendary actors – the other by Angela Lansbury – in the sequel to 1964’s “Mary Poppins” (in theaters now).

Van Dyke, who just turned 93 and will present at Sunday’s Golden Globes, starred in the original film with two roles: as Cockney chimney sweep Bert and as aged banker Mr. Dawes, who died laughing in the end.

In “Mary Poppins Returns,” set 20 years later, Van Dyke literally jumped at the chance to play Mr. Dawes Jr.

Dick Van Dyke is Mr. Dawes Jr., giving a lesson to the Banks children, Annabel (Pixie Davies) and Georgie (Joel Dawson). JAY MAIDMENT/WALT DISNEY

“Every frame is him,” says director Rob Marshall. “He’s fearless, has such a joy and he loves to dance. He’s truly an original.”

Marshall made contingency plans for the routine he and choreographer John DeLuca had worked out for Van Dyke before the actor’s two days of shooting at London’s Shepperton Studios.

They set up a stool and a chair as steps leading onto the high desk. Stars Emily Blunt (as Mary Poppins) and Lin-Manuel Miranda (as lamplighter Jack) were positioned at both sides of the desk – to be in the scene and to assist Van Dyke in getting up to the desk.

Marshall says he has run into Van Dyke at Ralphs, the star’s local grocery store in Malibu, Calif., and knew he can still shake it.

More: 8 times ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ makes ‘practically perfect’ references to the original movie

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“I have seen him literally dance stepping down the grocery aisle,” Marshall says. “He’s a bright spirit. And I know for a fact he goes to the gym every day.”

Dick Van Dyke still has it in “Mary Poppins Returns.” WALT DISNEY PICTURES

But the director admits he held his breath before the first desk mount. Van Dyke didn’t even need the assistance.

“He sort of waves us away and it was a big lunge onto a chair and onto the desk,” says Blunt. “And he just hoofed away on that desk like there was no tomorrow. Rob was so touched, he couldn’t even say cut. He was crying.”

Van Dyke performed the scene four times to make sure Marshall had the perfect cut. Blunt is sure the actor had to “play up” his age to portray an elderly character. “He’s still so alive, so sharp and with those blue eyes,” she says.

The two days of shooting were highlighted by Marshall giving Van Dyke a tour of the rebuilt Cherry Tree Lane house, which had been the center of the original film.

Angela Lansbury flies as the Balloon Lady in Disney’s “Mary Poppins Returns.” JAY MAIDMENT/WALT DISNEY

The director says Lansbury, 93, was an obvious choice to star as the magical Balloon Lady in the new film’s colorful ending, a character taken directly from “Mary Poppins” author P.L. Travers’ books. Lansbury is a Broadway and Disney icon with roles that include Mrs. Potts in “Beauty and the Beast” and Miss Price in 1971’s “Bedknobs and Broomsticks.”

Angela Lansbury was a must for director Rob Marshall, playing a role taken directly from author P.L. Travers’ books. “Angela Lansbury has such a huge acting legacy, and a huge Disney legacy. You see her and there’s a magic about her,” says Marshall. JAY MAIDMENT/WALT DISNEY

Miranda was blasting Lansbury’s “Worst Pies in London,” from her Tony Award-winning 1979 Broadway performance, in the makeup trailer when “in walks the women who sang the song. She was delighted. I was mortified.”

But he was moved to hear Lansbury break into song as the Balloon Lady for the finale.

“There are two moments in ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ when the grown-ups watching really lose it: Dick Van Dyke’s arrival and when Angela Lansbury starts singing,” says Miranda. “Those are playing on a lifetime of heartstrings.”

Published 3:27 PM EST Jan 5, 2019

All the stories behind Dick Van Dyke’s emotional Mary Poppins Returns cameo

Jay Maidment/Disney type

  • Movie


Dick Van Dyke says that when he heard Disney was developing a sequel to Mary Poppins, his first reaction was, “Can I be in it?” It stands to reason that the only proper response anyone in Hollywood could have to the legend’s question would be another question: Are you kidding?!

“I was so shocked that Dick Van Dyke wanted to do this,” says director Rob Marshall, who cites 1964’s Mary Poppins as the first film he ever saw and can now successfully show off Van Dyke in a scene-stealing cameo in the 2018 sequel, Mary Poppins Returns. “I was so nervous talking to him because, I mean, it’s Dick Van Dyke!” Marshall continues. “He’s a hero of mine. First of all, I’m like his biggest fan. I know there are millions of fans, but I really feel like one of his biggest. I know every Dick Van Dyke Show intimately. Of course I know Bye Bye Birdie and all of them, but I go even past Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. You know, Robinson Crusoe that he did for Disney, and so, so many others. I just was a humongous fan. And so hopefully he felt that support and love immediately over the phone, because he said ‘yes’ right away. That was an amazing thing.”

To the director, the excitement was not just in getting Van Dyke’s stamp of approval on the movie by virtue of the 93-year-old appearing in it, but also the ease with which the filmmakers were able to find the perfect place for him to pop up. In Mary Poppins Returns, the whereabouts of Van Dyke’s chimney sweep Bert are explained away quite early on as “traveling the world, off to parts unknown.” However, the same cannot be said for the Dawes family, and in Marshall’s sequel, Van Dyke plays banker Mr. Dawes Jr., whose father he played in the 1964 film.

“I thought, ‘Well, this is handy. I’ve grown into the part. I won’t need any make-up!’” Van Dyke said in a press-kit interview with Disney. “And they put mustaches and wigs and muttonchops and everything, and I said, ‘You guys realize you’re making up a 90-year-old to look like a 90-year-old? He actually, for me, looked too good. Mr. Dawes in the first one was kind of scruffy. This guy was pretty well-turned-out!”

But Marshall has a different outlook: “Here he was playing a dual role in the first film and basically playing this old man, and now he is quote-unquote ‘that age,’ but you know what? He still had to play it old because he’s not that at all. He’s so youthful!”

Image zoom Disney

And yes, reader, to answer your next question: That was Dick Van Dyke, all Dick Van Dyke, Dick Van Dyking all over that table in that brief dance break during the film’s climax in the bank. No stunt double needed — because Van Dyke did all of them.

“Every… one,” promises Marshall. “Oh, I could never… I would never do a double for him. Never. All of that is him, every bit of it. And in fact, when he jumped on the desk, we had put a stool, a chair, and then the desk, and was there to help him up. He didn’t use Lin’s hand. He didn’t even use the stool. He just jumped up. We were like, ‘What did he just do!?’ Because he could, and he was so excited to do that. And we did it a few times! It’s not like we just did one take!”

Emily Blunt and Miranda, who play Mary Poppins and Jack (Bert’s apprentice), remember it fondly. “He just waved us away, almost like, ‘Get out of my way.’ He was so game and so agile,” says Blunt, who adds that she and Miranda were reduced to pure grinning mannequins during the scene (so much so, you can even see it in the finished film). “There was no acting required,” laughs Miranda. In fact, when EW was on the set of Mary Poppins Returns in 2017 just a day after Van Dyke, Miranda was still glowing. (“Imagine how cool you think Dick Van Dyke is, and double that — that’s how cool he was,” Miranda had said. “Honestly I just spent the whole time grilling him about Bye Bye Birdie.”)

Although Mary Poppins Returns had its share of emotionally-charged days on set, many members of the production count the day with Van Dyke as far and away the most magical. For Miranda, it was because of an off-script tangent. Van Dyke had already improvised during his time on set — he began reciting the “wooden leg named Smith” joke from the 1964 film, which Marshall decided to keep in his finished cut — but according to Miranda, Van Dyke brought another improvisation, one that struck more of a chord. (Well, a few chords, technically.) Miranda recalls, “He has this beautiful monologue, but then he also sang ‘Feed the Birds.’ Now, I never saw the end of Mary Poppins until I was in high school because when I was a kid, ‘Feed the Birds’ would come on and that melody was so sad, I would burst into tears and turn off the movie. So to have Dick Van Dyke beautifully performing this incredible monologue and then those notes, which still wreck me to this day… it was very tough holding it together.”

Blunt had a special moment of her own with Van Dyke. “He did do this one wonderful thing, which I will probably cry even thinking about,” she says. “We were sitting on set and we were chatting about the original, and there was a little lull in the conversation and he just leaned over and held my hand and , ‘It’s a jolly holiday with Maaary…’ It was so special.”

But Blunt says that more than anything, Van Dyke’s time on set marked “the day that Rob cried, hard. I knew that Rob was struggling to hold it together because Dick finished his speech and there was a huge pause and no one was saying ‘Cut.’” As Marshall tells it, Van Dyke’s monologue to the Banks children did him in. “He tells this story to the kids, and it was so moving to me, I honestly couldn’t say the word. I was weeping. Because it was just the whole thing. All of it. It was him, in this film, in my film, playing this character, in Mary Poppins, still here, plus he’s so good… it was all that.”

On a production where high expectations were rampant since the film’s first announcement, Van Dyke’s presence allowed a small dose of the heft of the project to seep in for cast members like Blunt, who had compartmentalized the pressure of reinventing the iconic role and tried her best to treat Mary like any other character. “We all realized that this really was the next chapter and what an honor it was to carry this on,” Blunt says. “ kept it so that you didn’t feel the bigness too much — we just focused on this story and these people and this moment — but then when Dick came on set, it was quite disarming for everybody, I think, in an extraordinary way.”

Disarming, yes, but also dazzling. “He’s just so extraordinary,” Marshall says. “He walked on to our set and said, ‘I feel the same spirit here that I felt on the original.’ And for us, that was another dream come true.”

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Complete Coverage
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FAR from being practically perfect in every way, Julie Andrews once put a bumper sticker on her car which said: “Mary Poppins Is A Junkie.”

It was a jokey, failed bid to banish the sugary-sweet reputation she had been stuck with because of the role — but if she had actually told the truth behind the classic movie, she might have succeeded.

16 Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews in 1964 Disney classic Mary PoppinsCredit: Cover Images 16 Julie Andrews wanted to banish the sugary-sweet reputation she had after Mary PoppinsCredit: Getty – Contributor

The actress shocked the children in the film with her swearing and by smoking on set — while co-star Dick Van Dyke was an alcoholic who struggled with suicidal thoughts even as he danced around singing Chim Chim Cher-ee.

Meanwhile, the writer of the original Poppins novels was at war with the film’s producer Walt Disney, obsessed with the occult, dogged by claims of racism and accused of ruining the life of her adoptive son.

Later Matthew Garber, who played the joyous young Michael Banks in the 1964 box-office smash, died tragically at the age of 21 after contracting hepatitis in India.

Despite it all, the 1964 film remains a beloved family favourite — and a sequel, Mary Poppins Returns, opens on December 21 starring Emily Blunt as the carpet bag-toting nanny.

The latest trailer for Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns starring Emily Blunt has been released showing off the wondrous world of magic 16 The long-awaited Mary Poppins sequel stars Emily Blunt as the magical nannyCredit: 3 16 Karen Dotrice, now 63, who played young Jane Banks, at the Mary Poppins Returns premiereCredit: Getty Images – Getty

Karen Dotrice, now 63, who played young Jane Banks in the first film, is not surprised at its treasured status. She says that despite what went on backstage, the whole cast realised they were involved in something special.

She said: “We started to feel like one big family and that we were all making something fun together that felt really magical.”

But she still remembers her shock as an eight-year-old at seeing Julie Andrews, then 28, in full prim Edwardian nanny get-up — with a cigarette and exchanging blue language with the crew.

Karen added: “There was swearing. Julie Andrews was smoking on set. It was a very real 1960s set, I can tell you. They were polite around minors to begin with, but that soon ended.”

16 On set Andrews shocked child actors Karen Dotrice and Matthew Garber with her swearingCredit: Getty – Contributor

Dick Van Dyke has admitted that he was an alcoholic at the time playing chimney sweep Bert, and would turn up for shoots suffering from the night before.

The American, who has a cameo in the new film, said: “I would go to work with terrible hangovers, which if you’re dancing is really hard.”

Van Dyke, 37 at the time of filming and now 92, also revealed booze led him into dark bouts of depression, revealing: “I was in deep trouble, you get suicidal and think you just can’t go on.”

However, he does not blame booze for the most infamous part of his performance, the Cockney voice which still tops lists as the worst accent in the history of cinema.

Dick Van Dyke does cockney in Mary Poppins 16 Dick Van Dyke has admitted he was struggling with a drink problem during the time of filmingCredit: 1968 Ron Galella 16 Van Dyke, now 92, pictured with Karen Dotrice and Julie AndrewsCredit: Rex Features

For that, he blames, among others, Julie Andrews.

He once explained: “I was working with a cast of almost all Brits and neither Julie nor anyone else ever said, ‘You know, you ought to work on that accent’.”

Meanwhile, he was well aware that on the sidelines, PL Travers — the writer of the Poppins books — was not happy with the casting of either himself or his co-star.

He has said: “She hated Julie and she hated me.”

16 Author P.L. Travers (pictured with Andrews and Disney) was not happy with the finished film

In fact — as described in the 2013 film about the making of the movie, Saving Mr Banks — Pamela Travers hated pretty much everything to do with the adaptation, which went on to win five Oscars.

For 20 years she had sent Walt Disney packing every time he had tried to buy the rights to her stories — and when she finally gave in, she regretted it bitterly.

Her own Poppins character, who first appeared in a novel in 1934, was cold, intimidating and given to making pronouncements with “a superior sniff”.

And yet here the nanny was, sweet, smiling, lovey-dovey and dancing with animated penguins. She saw it as an insult.

16 Travers refused to sell the rights to Disney for 20 years and then banned him from making a sequel

After the premiere, Travers told Walt Disney, “All the animation has to go,” not realising it was too late. The mogul put her right, saying: “Pamela, the boat has sailed.”

Travers got her revenge by refusing him permission to make a sequel — even reportedly specifying in her will that “no Americans shall ever be granted permission to work on a Poppins project ever again”.

She died in 1996 — and Disney is now behind the new film, with the approval of her estate.

Ironically, the movie was a passion for Walt and the books a passion for Travers for the same reason — troubled childhoods.

16 Walt Disney had a bad relationship with his father and changed the character of Mr Banks to be more distantCredit: Rex Features

Actress Karen told The Sun: “PL Travers’ father was nasty to her. Walt Disney had a horrible relationship with his father.” The mogul saw the story as a fantasy about children transforming a cruel father — like his own — into a loving one.

As a result, he changed the character of Mr Banks from the kindly one in the books to cold and distant.

And his painful memories of being an unhappy child — forced to get up at 4.30am to deliver newspapers in the snow — also made him determined to treat the child stars in Poppins well.

Karen recalled: “I learned the reason why Uncle Walt was so nice to me and my family is because he didn’t want another eight-year-old to have the s****y experiences he’d had.”

16 Disney treated the child stars in his movies well, because of his bad experiences growing upCredit: Kobal Collection –

Travers had seen the character of Mr Banks as a chance to bring back the bank manager dad she had idolised but who had died of alcoholism when she was seven.

She was appalled that he was now being made into a villain.

Born Helen Goff in the wilds of Queensland in 1899, Travers moved to England aged 25.

And despite creating the quintessentially proper character of Mary Poppins, her life was very unconventional by the standards of the day.

16 Travers hated the animated scenes in the Disney filmCredit: Kobal Collection –

She enjoyed romantic relationships with both men and women.

For ten years she lived with Madge Burnand, the daughter of the editor of Punch — who once took a photo of Travers cavorting topless on an Italian beach.

Travers later fell in love with the poet Francis McNamara, an Irishman who once informed the author: “Mary Poppins, with her cool, green core of sex, has me enthralled for ever.”

Single again by the age of 40, Travers adopted a baby boy called Camillus from a large, struggling family in Ireland.

16 Dotrice (pictured with Van Dyke) continued acting until the age of 24 before retiring to become a mumCredit: Rex Features

What Camillus didn’t find out until he was 17 was that he had a twin brother, Anthony, who Travers had not wanted to care for despite his parents begging her to take them both.

On learning the truth he went off drinking with his sibling, a habit that was to develop into crippling alcoholism for both of them.

Camillus died in 2011 from the effects of his addiction.

The boys’ oldest brother, Joseph Hone, said: “I don’t think Travers was fit to bring up children.”

16 Julie Andrews won the Best Actress Oscar for her roleCredit: Rex Features

She had reportedly chosen Camillus as the twin for her on the advice of her astrologer — and later became more and more obsessed by the stars, the occult and mysticism.

The popularity of Travers’ books faded over the years as racism in them became unacceptable — especially the shocking descriptions of black Americans.

In contrast, those involved in the film continue to thrive on their associations with the smash hit.

Julie Andrews, 83 — a stage star when she won the role — became a sensation, landing the Best Actress Oscar and her part in The Sound Of Music. She is now a dame.

16 Matthew Garber, who played Michael, died aged 21, after contracting hepatitis from eating bad meatCredit: �Walt Disney / Supplied by LMK 16 Karen says she and Matthew had a great time making the movie as childrenCredit: Walt Disney

Dick Van Dyke overcame his demons and became one of the most familiar faces on US telly.

Karen Dotrice continued acting until the age of 24, then decided: “I would rather just get married and become a mum and that was that.”

Tragically, Matthew Garber, who played her brother Michael, only made it to the age of 21.

Despite rumours that drugs played a part in contracting the hepatitis that killed him after a trip to India, his family insisted it was caused by eating bad meat.


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He and Karen were a perfect team, working on other films together as children.

She said: “We had a great childhood. We made three films together.

“I wish he was here to give these comments too.”

The remake by the numbers

  • £100million budget
  • 9 new songs
  • 4 Golden
    Globes nominations
  • 70+ artists drew animation by hand
  • 18 weeks to build the Cherry Tree Lane set
  • 538 antiques acquired for Topsy’s Fix-It shop
  • 2 weeks to film the lamplighters routine
  • 1965 Year Disney started talks on a sequel

Mary Poppins Returns premiere – Emily Blunt and Dick Van Dyke on Hollywood red carpet for sequel

  • GOT a story? RING The Sun on 0207 782 4104 or WHATSAPP on 07423720250 or EMAIL [email protected]

LOS ANGELES — When Rob Marshall, the director of the film “Mary Poppins Returns,” realized that Dick Van Dyke was the same age as the grizzled London banker he played in his second role in the original 1964 “Mary Poppins,” Marshall had a eureka! moment: Why not ask Van Dyke, now 93, to play Mr. Dawes Jr., the banker’s son, for the sequel? At the time, Marshall had not met the tripping-over-the-ottoman star of “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” but the filmmaker wasn’t worried that Van Dyke wasn’t up to the physical challenge. Marshall recalled that he once saw the actor at a Malibu grocery store, “and he was literally dancing up and down the aisles while he was shopping.”

Set in Depression-era England, “Mary Poppins Returns,” which opened on Dec. 19, follows that tinkly-voiced child-minder (Emily Blunt, stepping into the Julie Andrews part) as she descends from the sky again to brighten the lives of the Banks family: the rumpled widower Michael (Ben Whishaw), his three young children and his activist sister, Jane (Emily Mortimer). Lin-Manuel Miranda shows up as Poppins’s sidekick, Jack, a lamplighter. It isn’t until late in the film that Van Dyke makes his bushy-haired, bewhiskered appearance, but Marshall said that the veteran hoofer (who also played the chimney sweep Bert in the original) aced his cameo — a two-minute monologue with a bit of ad-libbing, a jump onto a desk, followed by dancing — in “two takes, maybe three. He just nailed it.”

Van Dyke has been practicing since his high school days in Danville, Ill., where he jettisoned plans to join the ministry soon after he discovered drama class. He went on to do it all: He was one-half of a touring mime team, a television announcer, a radio disc jockey. It was the theater director and choreographer Gower Champion who saw potential in Van Dyke’s rubbery-legged agility and cast him as the lead in a Broadway production of “Bye Bye Birdie.”

“But Mr. Champion, I don’t dance,” Van Dyke told him.

“We’ll teach you,” Champion promised. Since then, Van Dyke hasn’t stopped moving.

Dick Van Dyke Reveals He Paid Walt Disney $4,000 to Play Banker in ‘Mary Poppins’

Disney may be preparing to release a sequel to the 1964 film Mary Poppins for the big screen on Dec. 19 with Mary Poppins Returns, but original star Dick Van Dyke revealed that he had to persuade Walt Disney to land a second role in the original.

During Thursday’s holiday broadcast of ABC’s Mary Poppins Returns: Behind the Magic – A Special Edition of 20/20, which gives viewers an inside look at Mary Poppins Returns, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Van Dyke sit down for a one-on-one discussion where they confer about Van Dyke’s role in the original and his excitement to share the magic of the beloved classic to a newer generation. It was during this discussion where the 92-year-old shared his secret fight to take on another role in the 1964 film.

In the original film, Van Dyke is recognized for playing the chimney sweeper Bert, but the actor revealed that he had to financially persuade Disney to allow him to portray the film’s banker, Mr. Dawes Sr., as well. “I said, ‘I’ll do it for nothing.’ Actually, I had to give him $4,000 dollars. I had to pay him to do the part,” the actor explained of his persuasion to Disney, also explaining that Disney wouldn’t give him the part of the banker despite Van Dyke asking for it.

After Miranda further pressed on whether Van Dyke ultimately paid Disney to play the banker, Van Dyke quipped, “And I’d do it again.” To this day, Miranda pointed out, many viewers fail to remember that Van Dyke played two roles in the family film, for he was unrecognizable when portraying the banker versus Bert.

“It’s funny when you’re a kid and you see it, you don’t realize that. You don’t realize it’s you in that other part,” he added. “But you know when they made me up as the old man in the old one, I had to go to Walt and ask him for the part, he didn’t give it to me.”

Despite having to persuade Disney to allow him to star in the original, the veteran actor was welcomed to the sequel, returning to the story disguised as Mr. Dawes Jr.

“I got excited, of course, that there was going to be one, and, of course, my first question was: ‘Can I be in it?’ ” the actor told Miranda of his reaction to hearing of the sequel, which will have Emily Blunt taking on the role of Poppins and Miranda starring as Poppins’ friend, Jack.

Taking place years after the original, the 2018 musical sequel follows the lives of grown-up Jane (Emily Mortimer) and Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw). After the death of Michael’s wife, Poppins (Blunt) returns to help raise the new generation of Banks children, enlisting help from street lamplighter Jack (Miranda).

The Rob Marshall-directed film also stars Meryl Streep, Julie Walters, Colin Firth, Pixie Davies, Joel Dawson, Nathanael Saleh, Angela Lansbury and David Warner.

The 20/20 Thanksgiving special is set to feature Blunt and Miranda opening up about their roles in the sequel and their thoughts on following in the footsteps of Van Dyke and Julie Andrews.

The hourlong special will also include interviews with other cast and crew from Mary Poppins Returns, including director Rob Marshall; composer Marc Shaiman; lyricist Scott Wittman; Davies and Dawson, actors who play the Banks children; costume designer Sandy Powell; character designer James Woods; and animator James Baxter. The special will also feature interviews with Karen Dotrice, the actress who played Jane Banks in the original Mary Poppins, and Jeff Kurtti, a Disney historian and author.

Mary Poppins Returns: Behind the Magic – A Special Edition of 20/20 will air on Thursday, Nov. 22 on ABC at 8 p.m. ET.


There’s a lot of intrigue surrounding the upcoming Disney live-action sequel “Mary Poppins Returns,” including veteran actor Dick Van Dyke. In the original film, Van Dyke portrays Bert, a jack of all trades, from street artist to chimney sweep.

This go-around, he’s reprising a much smaller character – and it’s making people cry.

Dick Van Dyke in “Mary Poppins Returns.”

Dick Van Dyke’s return to “Mary Poppins” places him as the Dawes Jr., the son of the old banker he played in the first film. For many, having him on set was definitely something not to miss.

“Every one of us was there and it was beyond,” said director Rob Marshall. “I don’t think any of us could even breathe that day because we couldn’t believe that we were touching that.”

What’s even more special is that day on set was just as magical for Van Dyke as it was for the cast and crew.

“I feel the same spirit here on this set that I did on the first film,” said Van Dyke to Marshall.

Van Dyke’s presence even brought some of the production to a halt. Producer John Deluca spoke of his favorite moment on set:

“After Dick did his monologue to the kids in the bank, we were all waiting for Rob to call ‘Cut’ because he was with him reading a long time, and then he couldn’t because of all the emotion. He was crying and he couldn’t literally say the word.”

The expectations of this sequel are incredibly high, but Van Dyke’s involvement and experience while filming solidifies that this film will be something special.

“Mary Poppins Returns” flies into theaters nationwide on Dec. 19. Get a quick glimpse of Van Dyke’s performance in this special look below:


Richard Wayne “Dick” Van Dyke is an American actor, producer, comedian, and writer. He is probably best known for playing Rob Petrie on the CBS situation comedy The Dick Van Dyke Show and Dr. Mark Sloan on the CBS medical crime drama series Diagnosis: Murder.

For Disney, he portrayed Bert and Mr. Dawes Sr. (for which he briefly credited as Navckid Keyd as an anagram of his name, before the letters arranged themselves into the proper name) in the 1964 musical film Mary Poppins. He was also in the 1966 movie Lt. Robin Crusoe USN and the 1968 movie Never a Dull Moment. Additionally, he played D.A. Fletcher in the 1990 film Dick Tracy. He also inducted Walt Disney into the American Television Hall of Fame. He was the guidance of Donald’s 50th Birthday. His role as Robinson Crusoe was later spoofed by Genie in the Aladdin TV series. He also appeared on “Mickey’s Pirate Adventure”, an episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse as the voice of Goofy’s grandfather, Captain Goof-Beard. He made a cameo appearance as himself in the 2014 film Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. He plays Mr. Dawes Jr. in Mary Poppins Returns.

In 1986, Van Dyke inducted Walt Disney into the American Television Hall of Fame.

In 1998, Van Dyke was inducted as a Disney Legend.

He celebrated his 90th birthday at Disneyland where he was presented with a silhouette of Bert dancing.

He is also the older brother of Jerry Van Dyke.

Disney Roles

Robinson Crusoe
(Lt. Robin Crusoe USN)Bert
(Mary Poppins)Mr. Dawes Sr.
(Mary Poppins)Himself
(Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day)
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Genie as Robinson Crusoe.Dick Van Dyke with Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy.Dick Van Dyke at premiere of Mary Poppins Returns in December 2018.

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Later Career

Van Dyke took a more dramatic turn in the 1990s. He starred in the popular crime drama Diagnosis Murder alongside his real-life son, Barry Van Dyke. Debuting in 1993, the series featured Van Dyke as Dr. Mark Sloan, a medical professional who helped the police solve crimes. The series ended in 2001, but Van Dyke didn’t stay away from the small screen for long. He played another amateur detective in a series of TV movies, beginning with 2006’s Murder 101. That same year, the actor appeared in the Ben Stiller comedy Night at the Museum.

Returning to the stage, Van Dyke made a special guest appearance in Chita Rivera: The Dancer’s Life in 2006. He also transformed his own life into a theatrical production, Dick Van Dyke—A Step In Time: A Musical Memoir, which debuted in 2010 at Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles, California.

“I’m having the best so-called retirement of anyone I know, doing what I love doing,” Van Dyke told BroadwayWorld.com in late 2010. “Eventually, I may try something less strenuous.” The following year, he published a printed version of his story in My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business. Van Dyke shares his ups and downs in the book—including his struggles with alcoholism—with remarkable optimism and poise.

On January 27, 2013, at the age of 87, Van Dyke received the 2013 Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award. During his acceptance speech, Van Dyke reminisced about his work over the years as an entertainer and stated that his career has “been full of surprises and a lot of fun.” He also praised actors working in the industry today, calling them “the greatest generation of actors” and telling them, “You’ve all lifted the art to another place now.” He continued with a rhetorical question for his Hollywood colleagues: “Aren’t we lucky to have found a line of work that doesn’t require growing up? I love that.” Van Dyke is the 49th recipient of the SAG Life Achievement Award, following 2012 honoree Mary Tyler Moore.

Health Scares

Van Dyke made headlines again in April 2013, this time for an incident of a much different kind—one posing a threat to the actor’s life, not celebrating it the way the prestigious event had just weeks earlier. The legendary performer announced that he was suffering from an “undiagnosed neurological disorder,” posting on his Twitter page: “My head bangs every time I lay down. I’ve had every test come back that I’m perfectly healthy. Anybody got any ideas?” The famed TV personality was reportedly advised by his doctor to avoid plane travel and rest until further tests could be conducted to pinpoint the direct cause of his head pain.

Dick Van Dyke

Photo: Vera Anderson/WireImage via Getty Images

Along that same vein, in August 2013, reports about a new health scare involving Van Dyke were circulating worldwide. According to reports, a sports car that Van Dyke was operating on L.A.’s 101 Freeway suddenly burst into flames on August 19, leaving the actor trapped inside the burning vehicle until a passing motorist who had witnessed the accident could come to his aid. Thanks to the passerby, Jason Pennington, Van Dyke left the scene of the accident unscathed—not only did the actor walk away uninjured and needing no medical treatment, he did not receive a citation for the incident, according to The Associated Press. According to some reports, Van Dyke had reported engine trouble with the vehicle the previous day, on August 18.

It’s almost impossible to imagine the character of Mr. Dawes Sr. being played by anyone other than the legendary Dick Van Dyke in the original Mary Poppins. But as the 92-year-old actor revealed in a recent sit down with ABC’s 20/20, he actually had to fork over quite a bit of dough to land the part.

While Van Dyke apparently had no issues being cast in the role of whimsical chimney sweeper Bert, he did have to convince Walt Disney himself that he could play the greedy banker in the movie as well.

— 20/20 (@ABC2020) November 21, 2018

After dropping that bombshell, he added that he’d “do it again” and has no regrets about forking over the cash to Disney.

Fast forward 54 years, and it looks like Van Dyke’s investment was well worth it. The 1964 film ended up earning 20 awards, according to IMDb. Van Dyke himself scored a Laurel and Grammy for his part in the classic, as well as a Golden Globe nod in the Best Actor category.

In the upcoming Mary Poppins Returns, which premieres December 19, Van Dyke will make a cameo as the son of the banker from the original movie. Emily Blunt will reprise Julie Andrews’s iconic role as the charming nanny.

Kayla Keegan News and Entertainment Editor Kayla Keegan covers all things in the entertainment, pop culture, and celebrity space for Good Housekeeping.

“The man’s gone mad. Call the guard!” ―Mr. Dawes Sr.

Mr. Dawes Sr. was the director of London’s main financial center, George Banks’s former greedy and serious boss and the main antagonist in Mary Poppins despite his small role.


Considered a giant in the world of finance (impressing even Michael) during the year 1910, Mr. Dawes was the elderly chairman of the London bank that employed George Banks. He had apparently been in charge for a good many years, as he was able to recall when George’s father worked for the bank. By the time of the film, however, he had become very elderly. He was known to lose his balance easily, even when walking with a cane, and wheezed often. However, he still seemed to have his wits about him, as he was able to successfully run the bank. George, as well as the other bank members, tried hard to please him.

However, this success did not seem to continue into other aspects of his life. Mr. Dawes, like his employee George, was a very practical man and believed such things as feeding birds to be a waste of time and money. He had one known son, Mr. Dawes Jr., who also worked at the bank, and their relationship did not appear to be very loving.


Mary Poppins

Mr. Dawes appears as George is taking Jane and Michael on a tour of his bank. He quietly explains to them about Mr. Dawes and his prestigious reputation. Mr. Dawes, after hearing from George that his children wish to open an account with their tuppence, he appears delighted, as he started around the same age. Michael rejects this idea, saying that he simply wanted to feed the birds. Mr. Dawes scoffs at the notion and begins trying to convince the children of the wonders of finance. Michael starts to consider the offer, but when he starts to open his hand, Mr. Dawes takes the tuppence without asking. Enraged, Michael attempts to retrieve it, unintentionally causing a run on the bank. Finally, he snatches it from Mr. Dawes and runs off with Jane.

Later that night, Mr. Dawes summons George back to the bank. With Mr. Dawes instructing his son on what to say, Mr. Dawes Jr. fires George, for indirectly causing the bank run by failing to control Michael’s behavior. Mr. Dawes then asks if George has anything to say, but is frightened when he suddenly begins laughing. George, in a sudden good mood, says “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”, then tells Mr. Dawes a joke, one which Michael had told him earlier. He then leaves singing “A Spoonful of Sugar”. While Mr. Dawes Jr., comments that George must have gone mad, Mr. Dawes ponders the joke. He suddenly gets it and begins laughing. Much to the surprise of the other bank officers, he floats up into the air.

The next morning, George takes his family kite flying as part of his new resolution to be a better family man. There, he meets Mr. Dawes Jr., who is flying kites with the other bank officers. He compliments George on his joke, stating that Mr. Dawes had literally died laughing. George expresses his condolences, but Mr. Dawes Jr. responds that there is nothing to be sorry about. He continues, saying that his father had never been happier in his life, and offers George a partnership in the bank, which has been left open by Mr. Dawes’ death.


Though unnamed, a character with the same position as Mr. Dawes, appears in the musical version of Mary Poppins. Known as the bank manager, he is George’s boss. In the musical, the bank run scene is cut, and replaced with a situation in which George, choosing potential bank investments, chooses a middle-class man’s factory project over a rich man’s money making scheme. When things look bad at the bank, the manager suspends him without pay.

In the second act, the manager summons George to the bank. But instead of firing him, he commends him. Apparently, his earlier choice had made a fortune for the bank. He asks what word made him so successful, to which him responds with Mary Poppins’ magic word. In another scene, Winifred mentions his old cruel nanny, Ms. Andrew, to which the manager responds, “The Holy Terror”, hinting that he had her as a child.

Mary Poppins Returns

Mr. Dawes Sr. doesn’t appear in the sequel, which takes place twenty-five years after the original film, due the fact of already being deceased, nor is he mentioned. However, the Bank of London is revealed to have prospered since his death, having recovered from the bank run of the first film by the time of The Great Depression. Also, the personality of his grand nephew William Weatherall Wilkins matches closely to that of him, given that both of them run the bank with questionable means, though Wilkins is more corrupt in general unlike Mr. Dawes Sr.

Additionally, near the end of the film, Mr. Dawes Jr. reveals to the Banks family that when George convinced Michael to give to him his tuppence so he could invest it rather than giving it to the Pigeon Lady, George actually invested the tuppence until it grew up into a large fortune enough to save the Banks house from being seized, ultimately proving that both George Banks and Mr. Dawes Sr. were right all along that Michael’s tuppence will eventually grow in a large sum.

Mr. Dawes with the other bank members at the meeting with George
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  • In the closing credits, Dick Van Dyke was credited as Navckid Keyd, an anagram of his name, for Mr. Dawes Sr. The letters arranged themselves to reveal the actor’s real name.
  • Although he is the main antagonist, he does not share a scene with Mary Poppins.
  • George Sanders, Wilfrid Hyde-White, Alastair Sim, Donald Crisp, Finlay Currie, Charles Carson, Alex Mackenzie, and Laurence Naismith were all considered for the role of Mr. Dawes, Sr.

Films: Mary Poppins • Mary Poppins Returns • The Cat That Looked at a King • Video

Music: Mary Poppins • Musical • The Legacy Collection • Mary Poppins Returns
Books: Big Golden Book • Little Golden Book

Garden of the Twelve Friends • Mary Poppins Ride • The Great Movie Ride

Entertainment: Disney’s Believe • Disney Classics: The Music & The Magic • Mickey’s Magical Music World • One Man’s Dream II: The Magic Lives On • Once Upon a Mouse
Restaurants: Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe
Parades: Celebrate A Dream Come True Parade • Disney’s Dreams On Parade: Moving On • Disney’s Easter Wonderland • Disney’s Magical Moments Parade • Disney Cinema Parade • Disney Friends Springtime Processional • Disney Magic on Parade • Disney on Parade: 100 Years of Magic • Disney Stars on Parade • Disney Stars ‘n’ Cars • Dreaming Up! • Happiness is Here Parade • Mickey’s Soundsational Parade • The Wonderful World of Disney Parade
Fireworks: Believe… There’s Magic in the Stars • Disney Dreams! • Disney Movie Magic • Disneyland Forever • Fantasy in the Sky • Magical

Mary Poppins: Mary Poppins • Bert • George Banks • Winifred Banks • Jane Banks • Michael Banks • Penguin Waiters • Fox • Admiral Boom and Mr. Binnacle • Uncle Albert • Mr. Dawes Sr. • Katie Nanna • Mrs. Brill • Ellen • Mr. Dawes Jr. • Constable Jones • The Pearly Band • Miss Lark

Mary Poppins Returns: William Weatherall Wilkins • Jack • Topsy • The Balloon Lady • Clyde • Shamus • John Banks • Annabel Banks • Georgie Banks • Angus • Hamilton Gooding and Templeton Frye • The Park Keeper • Penny Farthing


Mary Poppins: Sister Suffragette • The Life I Lead • The Perfect Nanny • A Spoonful of Sugar • Jolly Holiday • Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious • Stay Awake • I Love to Laugh • Feed the Birds (Tuppence a Bag) • A British Bank • Fidelity Fiduciary Bank • Chim Chim Cher-ee • Step in Time • A Man Has Dreams • Let’s Go Fly a Kite

Mary Poppins Returns: (Underneath the) Lovely London Sky • A Conversation • Can You Imagine That? • The Royal Doulton Music Hall • A Cover is Not the Book • The Place Where Lost Things Go • Turning Turtle • Trip a Little Light Fantastic • Nowhere to Go But Up
Musical: Temper, Temper • Practically Perfect • Anything Can Happen
Deleted Songs: The Anthropomorphic Zoo • The Chimpanzoo • The Right Side • The Land of Sand • Admiral Boom • Mary Poppins’ Melody • You Think, You Blink • Through The Eyes of Love • West Wind • Tiki Town • The North Pole Polka

v – e – d
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Start a Discussion Discussions about Mr. Dawes Sr.

  • What was with the joke about the name Dick Van Dyke scrambled in the closing credits under the name Mr. Dawes Sr.?

    5 messages

    • To answer both your questions, yes. 2014-04-27T14:29:53Z
    • Thanks! 2014-04-29T16:02:37Z

DICK Van Dyke starred alongside Julie Andrews in the original Mary Poppins as cheeky jack-of-all-trades Bert.

Today, 54 years on he’s set to make a cameo appearance in the sequel Mary Poppins Returns – here’s everything you need to know about him…

4 Dick Van Dyke has confirmed he will make a cameo appearance in the Mary Poppins sequelCredit: Getty Images

How old Dick Van Dyke in the original Mary Poppins?

Dick celebrated his 93rd birthday in December.

When Mary Poppins was originally released in 1964, he was 39-years-old.

How did Dick Van Dyke land the role of Bert in Mary Poppins?

After starring in the film version of Bye Bye Birdie in the role of Albert J. Peterson, which he played on Broadway, he was cast by Disney in Mary Poppins in 1964.

His main role was as Bert, a jack-of-all-trades who is very good friends with Mary Poppins, but he was also cast as the doddery old bank chairman Mr Dawes Senior.

The film, which starred Julie Andrews in the lead role, was a huge success and Chim Chim Cher-ee, which Bert sings in the movie, went on to win the Oscar for Best Original Song.

However, to this day, Dyke’s Cockney accent is lambasted as the accent in film history, and according to Dyke, no one on the set of the film told him how bad it was.

But to this day it is still his best-known role and on his 90th birthday, he was surprised by a flash-mob at The Grove shopping mall in Los Angeles.

Dyke also starred in Disney’s 1968 film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in the lead role of Caractacus Pott, after he turned down the role of Fagin in the 1968 musical Oliver!

4 He starred alongside Julie Andrews in the 1964 Disney originalCredit: Disney

When is Mary Poppins Returns out in cinemas?

Mary Poppins Returns hits UK cinema screens on December 21, 2018, and American cinemas on Christmas Day 2018.

It’s the sequel to the acclaimed 1964 film Mary Poppins, and is set in 1930s London, 25 years after the original.

The film sees Mary Poppins, the former nanny of Jane and Michael Banks, re-visiting them after a family tragedy.

In April 2016, Disney confirmed that Emily Blunt will star as Mary Poppins and Hamilton star Lin-Manuel Miranda will star as streetlamp lighter Jack.

It will be called Mary Poppins Returns and will be set in Depression-era London, and will also star Meryl Streep as Mary’s cousin Topsy.

4 Credit: Splash News

How did Dick Van Dyke become famous?

In 1961 he starred in comedy series The Dick Van Dyke Show, which made him a household name.

He starred as comedy writer Rob Petrie with Mary Tyler Moore playing his wife Laura. The show won a handful of Emmy Awards during its five-year run.

From 1971 to 1974 he starred in an unrelated sitcom called The New Dick Van Dyke Show but it wasn’t as successful as its predecessor and he cancelled it after three series.

He was also a regular on The Carol Burnett Show in 1977 and then appeared in various TV movies.

4 He became known to a new generation when he starred in the Night at the Museum trilogyCredit: Rex Features

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What is Dick Van Dyke’s backstory?

Dick Van Dyke was born Richard Wayne Van Dyke in West Plains, Missouri on December 13 1925 to mother Hazel, a stenographer, and father Loren, a salesman.

He considered becoming a minister but after attending a drama class in high school, he realised his true calling.

After he left school in 1944, Dick tried to join the US Air Force for pilot training during World War Two but he was denied for being too underweight.

Instead he became a radio announcer before transferring to the Special Services – the entertainment branch of the US military – to perform to the troops.

The latest trailer for Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns starring Emily Blunt has been released showing off the wondrous world of magic

Dick Van Dyke paid Walt Disney for a second role in ‘Mary Poppins’

His role as a lovable chimney sweep with a questionable cockney accent has entertained audiences watching Mary Poppins for years.

But Dick Van Dyke has revealed he was so intent on playing a second part in the much-loved movie, he ended up paying Walt Disney for the privilege.

Van Dyke, who starred as Bert alongside Julie Andrews in the 1964 classic, also played Mr Dawes Senior. But the role, which saw him caked him make up to appear much older, didn’t come easily and the actor has revealed that he had to persuade Walt Disney to give it to him – eventually offering money in return for the part.


The actor made the confession to Lin-Manuel Miranda, who stars in the upcoming sequel to the original film, Mary Poppins Returns, during a 20/20 special on ABC.

He said: “I had to go to Walt and ask him for the part. He wouldn’t give it to me. I said, ‘I’ll do it for nothing’.

“Actually, I had to give him $4,000 — I paid him to do the part.”

Dick Van Dyke’s first question upon hearing about ‘Mary Poppins Returns’

Legendary actor Dick Van Dyke discusses his return to Cherry Tree Lane with co-star Lin-Manuel Miranda. His first question upon hearing about Mary Poppins Returns? — “Can I be in it?” #ABC2020 https://abcn.ws/2OTNUpq

Posted by ABC 20/20 on Wednesday, November 21, 2018

But the actor – who has a cameo in the new film – said he had no regrets, adding: “And I’d do it again!”

Last year, the actor apologised for his accent in the original film while he picked up a BAFTA Britannia Award for Excellency in Television.


Addressing the crowd, he said: “I appreciate this opportunity to apologise to the members of BAFTA for inflicting on them the most atrocious Cockney accent in the history of cinema.”

The star has a cameo in the new Mary Poppins film, which is released next month and stars Emily Blunt as the world’s most famous nanny. Meryl Streep, Julie Walters and Colin firth also have roles.