Jerry Van Dyke Dies: Emmy-Nominated ‘Coach’ Actor Was 86


Jerry Van Dyke, star of the ABC sitcom Coach and brother of Dick Van Dyke, died on Friday in Arkansas from unknown causes. In 2015, he and his wife Shirley Ann Jones, were involved in a car accident from which his health was affected. He was 86.

Van Dyke’s manager, John Castonia, confirmed his death to the Associated Press, noting the actor died at his ranch in Hot Spring County with his wife by his side. The cause was not immediately known.

Born in Danville, Illinois in 1931, Van Dyke pursued stand-up comedy came into the spotlight in 1962 when he appeared as Stacey Petrie on the Dick Van Dyke Show. (Van Dyke is the second Dick Van Dyke show actor to pass in recent days. Rose Marie, who played the wisecracking Sally Rogers, died Dec. 28 at 94.)

He also appeared on CBS’s The Ed Sullivan Show and eventually became a regular on The Judy Garland Show. His other early TV credits include GE True, The Andy Griffith Show as well as the short-lived shows Accidental Family. and the famously derided, now perpetual Worst Show Ever contender My Mother the Car.

He also appeared on The Mary Tyler Moore Show,  Love, American Style and Fantasy Island. He reteamed with his brother in 1973 for The New Dick Van Dyke in a different role.

In 1989, he was cast in the ABC sitcom Coach opposite Craig T. Nelson as Assistant Coach Luther Van Dam. This would become his best-known role. The show ran for nine seasons between until 1997 and Van Dyke earned four Emmy nominations.

On the film side, he appeared in 1965’s Love and Kisses and in 1969’s Angel in My Pocket with Andy Griffith.

He also starred in shows such as The Millers, My Name is Earl, and Raising Hope. Most recently, recurred in ABC’s The Middle as Frankie’s (Patricia Heaton) father, Tag Spence. Dick Van Dyke played Frankie’s uncle and his brother on the show, which was easy considering the two are real-life siblings. Heaton took to Twitter to honor Jerry Van Dyke saying, “Much love to my wonderful TV dad [Jerry Van Dyke] and condolences to my TV dad-in-law [Dick Van Dyke].”

She adds, “Jerry, you were hilarious and terrifically talented – what an honor to be able to watch up close as you and your brother create your special magic. Rest In Peace Jerry…”

Van Dyke is survived by his wife Shirley and his children Jerri Lynne and Ronald. A daughter, Jean Van Dyke, died in 1991.

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