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Dick Van Dyke we need you

I haven’t thought about Dick Van Dyke for a long time, which is a shame because he’s one of the few men in my life who has never let me down.

I could always count on him to be the gentle and zany dad and husband on TV re-runs of The Dick Van Dyke Show during my childhood, when the most perplexing question in my life was whether or not Rob Petrie would trip over the ottoman in the opening credits. 

Years later, I relied on him to inject joyful optimism into my daughters’ childhoods as Bert, the chipper chimney sweep of Mary Poppins, and Caractacus Potts, the quirky inventor of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

DVD was my leading man for two pivotal decades in my life. 

So I was alarmed to read that my beloved song-and-dance man, now 87, was pulled from his burning sports car Monday afternoon after the jaguar caught fire on the 101 Freeway in the Los Angeles area. 

"He's fine thank God!!" his 40-year-old makeup-artist-turned-wife, Arlene Van Dyke, tweeted.

A video she Vined of the incident showed DVD looking frail and bewildered on the side of the road next to a crispy vehicle. 

Please, I beg the family movie gods, watch over this man. We need his Chim Chim Cher-ee more than ever.

DVD is the amiable hero who reminds us that life is fun, adventuresome, worthy of a song. He brought us flying cars and magical nannies – and demonstrated that a real man is charming, gentle and funny.

Life is truly scrumptious with him in it.

I know in his personal life he’s had flaws, alcoholism and adultery among them. Still, if we could forgive his horrible cockney accent in Poppins, certainly we can find room in our hearts to accept these faults? 

In these cynical, dark times, we need our quintessential nice guy to remind us of what is enchanting about this world. 

DVD once told a reporter that when he dies, he wants these words on his gravestone: “Glad I Could Help.”

We shouldn’t wait until then to tell him that, yes, he did.

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