Jerry Van Dyke (1931–2018)

Actor and comedian Jerry Van Dyke died Friday (January 5th) at the age of 86. The younger brother of Dick Van Dyke, he had a long career in television, including starring roles in several shows. Between 1962 and 1965, he four guest appearances on The Dick Van Dyke Show, playing the brother of Rob Petrie (played by Dick Van Dyke). During the 1965-1966 season, Jerry starred in My Mother the Car on NBC. Some consider it one of the worst television shows of all time.

Color still from an episode of My Mother the Car showing Jerry Van Dyke.

Jerry Van Dyke as Dave Crabtree in an episode of My Mother the Car (NBC, 1965-1966).

(I don’t agree. My Mother the Car is nowhere near as horrible as its reputation suggests.)

After the demise of My Mother the Car, Jerry Van Dyke appeared in several other short-lived TV shows: Accidental Family (NBC, 1967-1968), The Headmaster (CBS, 1970), and 13 Queens Boulevard (ABC, 1979).

From 1989 to 1997, he co-starred in Coach on ABC alongside Craig T. Nelson, Shelley Fabares, and Bill Fagerbakke. The series earned him four Emmy nominations but no wins. From 2001 to 2005, he had a recurring role on the CBS sitcom Yes, Dear. More recently, he guest starred in several episodes of ABC’s The Middle.

Obituaries can be found at The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Hollywood Reporter.


5 Comments

  • charles says:

    I am pleasantly surprised to see someone defend MMTC. It was my favorite show in 1965. A few disclaimers here: I was 7 years old and my bedtime was 8 pm, so my choices were limited. However, streaming it as a 59-year old, I still find it modestly amusing. RIP, Dave Crabtree!

    • Karen Martin says:

      I, too, liked My Mother the Car when I was a little kid, and (scary thought) can probably sing the theme song after some trial and error.

      Sure, it wasn’t as high-class as a series about a talking horse, or a man thawed out after being frozen in an avalanche for decades, or astronauts and cave people sharing the same “time zone,” but to me it was just a “normal” show about make-believe stuff.

  • charles says:

    Everybody knows in the second life we all come back or later/ as anything from a pussycat to a man-eating alligator./ Well you all my think my story is more fiction than it’s fact/ but believe it or not my mother dear decided she’d come back/ As a car, she’s my very own guiding star/ A 1928 Porter, that’s my mother dear/ she helps me through every thing I do and I’m so glad she’s here/ My Mother the Car, My Mother the Car. PS Yes, I watched Mr. Ed, The Second Hundred Years and It’s About Time!!

    • Karen Martin says:

      Egad, I just did some research, and discovered there’s no such thing as a “real” 1928 Porter, the only Porters were steam engine autos made in 1900 and 1901. My Mother the Car was more make-believe than I originally thought …

      • charles says:

        True Karen, true!! The car was put together with parts from other cars of its era, including the Model T Ford.

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