Jerry Van Dyke: His Arkansas legacy

After decades in show business in the shadow of his brother, Dick Van Dyke, he moved to Arkansas where he left a lasting legacy.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Actor and comedian Jerry Van Dyke died Friday at his home outside Malvern. He was 86 years old. 

Jerry got his first big gig in the 1960's sitcom "My Mother The Car." He's best known for his role in the series "Coach." 

After decades in show business in the shadow of his brother, Dick Van Dyke, he moved to Arkansas where he left a lasting legacy.

"He came to one of our shows and he was so impressed with it that he asked us if we wanted to do our shows here so we said ‘yes we would’ and so we started doing our shows here at the theater and he let us do it free for a long time," said former president of Royal Players, Lou Ann Cameron.

In 1996, his family purchased the Royal Theater in Benton. Four years later he gave the theater to the Royal Players.

"We were surprised, this building was valued at over $300,000,” said Selena Ellis with the Royal Players.

In Benton he's credited with giving the city a new life.

"He had the soda shop, candy shop, candle store and I can remember our teacher group coming to the soda shop for a party and Jerry Van Dyke let the karaoke. He was quite a character," said Susan Dill, president of the Royal Players.

Jerry Van Dyke died at his home outside Malvern with his wife by his side, but he'll be remembered for how he lived his life.

"With a smile because he was definitely a comedian," said Dill.

© 2018 KTHV-TV


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