At the age of 97, Dick Van Dyke wowed and touched audiences when he was revealed on the Masked Singer as the giant woodland gnome.
Van Dyke stumped judges, singing “When You’re Smiling” by Frank Sinatra and eliciting a number of wrong guesses including Robert de Niro and Tony Bennett.
He was flattered to have been asked to participate and said he knew no one would guess it was him.
“I looked at it on the air and it looked like fun,” he told EW. “And I was so positive that nobody would ever guess it was me.”
“I knew I was gonna fool them”
“But I knew that they couldn’t guess who I was,” he said. “I don’t think they expected anybody from my generation to be on that show. So I knew I was gonna fool them. They were so surprised. I stepped out and everybody’s mouths dropped open. I think some people thought I was dead.”
Hardly anyone on the set even knew that Van Dyke was behind the mask, he said.
“The experience was weird, because they have to keep it a secret from the crew,” Van Dyke told EW. “So I walked around with my head covered with people leading me. They’ve got a nice crew, but I never got to meet any of them!”
“I would say it’s the weirdest thing I’ve ever done,” he said, adding that he would love to go back and hang out with the crew sometime.
Van Dyke was the first singer eliminated from the show’s ninth season, but he may be one of the most remembered members of the show. Audience members gave him an extended standing ovation after he was revealed.
Van Dyke’s career
Van Dyke came to fame starring in The Dick Van Dyke Show, moving on to movies like Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, then spending over a decade on The Carol Burnett Show.
His career has spanned seven decades and includes Broadway (Bye Bye Birdie and The Music Man), for which he won a Tony Award.
He also won three Emmys for the Dick Van Dyke Show. and his song “Chim Chim Cheree” in Mary Poppins won an Oscar.
Musically, he released an album, Step (Back) In Time in 2017.
At 97, he is still vibrant and positive with a zest for life not often seen in those much younger than he is.