Jerry Van Dyke
On Friday in Arkansas, Jerry Van Dyke, Dick Van Dyke’s younger brother, passed away at age 86.
He battled for decades to break into entertainment before finally finding success as Coach’s dimwitted sidekick on television, garnering him four Emmy nominations for his performance. Additionally, he guest-starred as Frankie Heck’s (Patricia Heaton) cantankerous father Tag Spence on ABC’s The Middle.
Early Life and Education
Jerry Miles Dykes, popularly known by his moniker Jerry Van Dyke, has long been an inspiration to people worldwide. Often appearing in media coverage and making an impactful statement. Jerry Van Dyke was also an amazing individual who deeply cared for both his family and friends.
He supported himself with a banjo-and-comedy stage act and became popular on military bases, where his shows became staples for troops and officers alike. While performing, he met Shirley; after one show they married shortly thereafter in 1962.
He held five separate major league baseball managerships, second only to Gene Mauch. Additionally, he was a college football coach for Texas Tech and SMU – legacy he is leaving behind with wife Shirley and their children.
Dykes began his career on television, appearing on both dramatic and anthology series as both comic relief character. A regular on The Judy Garland Show as comic relief character.
He first debuted with the Athletics in 1918 and played 76 games there between then and 1919 as second baseman. His impressive fielding masked his less-than-stellar hitting skills; thus earning him the “good field-no hit” stigma which plagued so many minor leaguers at that time.
After his short time in the major leagues, he moved back to Hollywood where he appeared on various drama and anthology series as well as hosting various game shows. Most notably was his role as Luther Van Dam in Craig T Nelson’s TV show Coach.
Achievement and Honors
Jerry Dykes has had great success throughout his career as an educator and coach of football teams at both college and NFL levels, winning awards and honors along the way. Known as one of the premier coaches in Texas.
Oakland A’s pitcher Matt Albers was an integral component in their three-peat pennants and two World Series championships, leading the league in hit by pitches three times while finishing in the top ten in 13 different seasons.
Dick Van Dyke’s younger brother Luther Van Dam would later find fame through TV’s “Coach.” On Friday at his Arkansas ranch home he died, aged 86 and leaving behind three children; Shirley Ann Jones was present as well at his time of passing.
Dykes helped become an integral member of Mack’s Athletics in the 1930s, ranking fifth in batting average and being instrumental during two World Series victories for them.
His turbulent private life was an embarrassing public relations failure, as he became obsessed with guns out of fear that losing his celebrity would deprive him of income and fame. Living on a city block in Benton, Arkansas and frequent run-ins with law were hallmarks of his behavior.
On March 23, 2012, Sheriff Olson watched as an army of federal agents, state troopers and deputies descended upon the Dykes property. The FBI brought with them their forensics lab, bomb-sniffing dogs and an arsenal of weapons as a preparation for any standoff situation that may arise; criminal profilers were available to analyze Mr. Dykes’ personality while crisis managers ensured all agents were fed and accommodated properly.
Jerry Van Dyke was a widely celebrated American actor and comedian known for his impressive roster of film and television roles over five decades of acting career, garnering him many accolades and nominations during this time.
His career-defining achievement came as Luther Van Dam on ABC television series Coach from 1989 to 1997. Additionally, he appeared in fantasy situations comedies Teen Angel and You Wish as well as sitcoms The Middle and Yes Dear.
He appeared as an extra in several films such as McLintock! and Palm Springs Weekend, for which he won supporting roles. On Friday, January 5th 2018, at age 86, he died peacefully with his wife Shirley Jones on their 800 acre ranch located in Hot Springs County Arkansas.