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The Untold Truth of Dick Van Dyke’s First Wife


Margie Willett was an American woman, who attracted public interest for being the first wife of legendary award-winning Hollywood actor, singer, comedian and writer Dick Van Dyke, who is best known for his work in “Mary Poppins” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”

Early life and family

Little is known about the early life of Margerie “Margie” Willett except that she was born in 1927 in Danville, Illinois, USA. She was quite a private person and her family refuses to share any information about her with the public, in order to keep her wish of a quiet life when she was alive.

Educational background

There is no information about her level of education.

* Mini Bio…Did you know? Dick and his first wife Margie got married on the radio show “Bride and Groom” because the show paid…

Posted by “Classic Hollywood”. on Tuesday December 13, 2016


She had no record of being employed or setting up a business.

Private life

From a life of anonymity, Margie was exposed to public scrutiny when she married one of Hollywood’s most iconic celebrities, Dick Van Dyke, on February 12, 1948, at the Chapman Park Hotel on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, California. Dick was just a budding entertainer at the time and due to lack of funds he and Margie’s wedding was sponsored by a popular radio show – it wasn’t planned that way, but it was an opportunity Dick couldn’t pass up. He was performing at the hotel when the radio host of the show ‘Bride and Groom’ learned of his plans to marry his girlfriend and immediately offered to sponsor not only the wedding but also the honeymoon, with household appliances and furniture to move around with. take home.

Dick sent for Margie, got married on the radio show, and then honeymooned at Mount Hood Oregon Resort in Welches, Oregon.

The couple struggled for a while, even living in their car because Dick couldn’t afford to buy her a house. Eventually, Dick became quite successful not only on radio and stage, but also on TV and in movies. The couple was able to build a house and was blessed with four children namely Carrie Beth, Stacy, Barry and Chris. Though there were happy years in their marriage; unfortunately, they were beset by problems, both as individuals and as a couple.

Margie lost twins to miscarriage, but it was early in the marriage, so they were able to recover after that accident, but later they both had to rehab due to addictions.

Margie Willett and Dick Van Dyke

Margie was heavily dependent on prescription drugs, while Dick became an alcoholic. They both decided to go to the same rehabilitation center and were able to reform themselves. While Margie was quite proud of her husband’s achievements, for some reason she didn’t like the limelight and always preferred to stay out of it. Margie decided to stay more on the family’s farm in the desert to avoid public attention. Dick understood, but at the same time found comfort in the arms of another woman.

He had an eight-year extramarital affair with his agent’s secretary and part-time actress Michelle Triola, who gained notoriety for her controversial previous involvement with another actor, Lee Marvin.

As with most mistresses, Michelle was very supportive of Dick’s need to entertain, but it put a strain on his marriage. He said in an interview with Country Living, “I was involved with a different woman than my wife. It was unbelievable. I squirmed with guilt. In 1976 I had to do something.’ He confessed to his wife and they both agreed to live separately. They eventually filed for divorce in 1984, ending their 36 years of marriage.

After the divorce, Margie was rarely seen in public and would only be mentioned if one of her children chose to follow in their father’s footsteps. Barry got into the entertainment world and also became an actor. Margie never married again and lived a life out of the public eye.

In 2007, Margie was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, an illness that led to her death just a year later.

She was survived by four children, five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Who is Dick Van Dyke?

Richard Wayne Van Dyke was born on December 13, 1925, in West Plains, Missouri, to Loren Wayne Van Dyke, a salesman, and Hazel Victoria McCord, a stenographer. The family moved to Danville, Illinois, and he grew up there with younger brother Jerry Van Dyke in a very religious household, so he even thought of pursuing a career in their ministry when he was younger. However, Dick was destined to be an entertainer as he found his calling after performing in a high school drama.

Dick dropped out of high school for the military in the last few months of his senior year, only getting a diploma along with a Distinguished Alumnus Award when he attended Danville High in 2004, so finally matriculated.

When World War II broke out, he enlisted in the United States Air Force to become a pilot, but was denied because he was underweight. He then became a radio announcer in the army and eventually became part of the special services that entertained the troops around the world.

After the war he became a radio DJ in his hometown, but in 1947 he started performing and was part of the comedy pantomime duo ‘The Merry Mutes’. They toured cities until they could land a spot on national television and gain exposure. The duo stopped performing when they could no longer drag their families from one gig to the next.


In 1959, Dick made his Broadway debut in the show “The Girls against the Boys”, and a year later had a starring role in “Bye Bye Birdie”, which lasted more than a year.

He had an innate talent and was never professionally trained as a singer, actor or dancer, but he was able to do them all superbly. During a TV interview, Dick said that when he auditioned for a minor role in the musical, he had no experience in dancing at all, but when he sang, the director immediately decided to give him the main role of the show. His performance earned him a 1961 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical.


While he took the podium, he was also on his way to winning over television viewers. An old army friend turned TV director at CBS invited him to New York for an audition that led to a seven-year contract. Dick continued to appear as a guest and semi-regular on several popular series, including ‘The Pat Boone Show’, ‘The Phil Silvers Show’ and ‘The Andy Williams Show’.

The success of his Broadway career led to his own sitcom in 1961 called “The Dick Van Dyke Show”, starring Mary Tyler Moore, whom he was in love with on. The show ran for five successful years until creator-producer Carl Renier canceled it; it earned him three Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. In 1971, Carl Reiner produced and created “The New Dick Van Dyke Show” with Hope Lange, and it ran for three years and Dick received a Golden Globe nomination. It wasn’t as successful as his first series, so Dick decided to end it himself. He later became a regular on “The Carol Burnett Show” but only appeared in a few episodes of the final season, as he was busy with his movie career.


In 1963 he reprized his Broadway role in the film adaptation of the musical “Bye Bye Birdie”, and although he was not happy with this version, it was commercially successful.

In the same year, he was a part of the iconic movie “Mary Poppins” and played dual roles with Julie Andrews. It was also a commercial and critical success and was considered one of the most popular films in the 20se century. He and Julie won a Grammy for singing the film’s original soundtrack, “Chim Chim Cher-ee”, and the film won an Oscar for Best Original Song.

He continued to accept movie roles even as he got older – the last few notable ones were in the Ben Stiller franchise film series, “Night at the Museum” (2006-2014), playing the villain, and in 2018 with “Mary Poppins Returns” , reprising his role of Mr. Dawes Jr. in the original version.

Dick and Margie’s son, Barry, co-starred with his father in the long-running medical crime TV series, ‘Diagnosis Murder’, which ran from 1993 to 2001 and had 178 episodes in eight seasons. In 2008, the father and son made four movies for television, crime thrillers under the same title, “Murder 101”, which aired on the Hallmark Channel.

After his marriage to Margie ended, his relationship with his mistress continued until she died of a terminal illness in 2009. He remarried again in 2012 to Arlene Silver, a makeup artist half his age.


Margie Willet was 1.67 m tall and weighed about 55 kg. She was white with dark brown hair and brown eyes.

Net value

Sources estimated her net worth before her death at $15 million. which stemmed largely from her divorce settlement. Her former husband’s net worth is estimated to be over $50 million as of mid 2020.


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