Jerry Van Dyke, star of ‘Coach,’ dead at 86

Jerry Van Dyke, who emerged from the shadow of his older brother Dick to forge a successful comedy and acting career of his own, most memorably on the sitcom "Coach," reportedly died Friday at his home in Arkansas. He was 86.

Van Dyke's wife Shirley told TMZ that her husband's health had been slowly deteriorating since the couple was involved in a car accident two years ago.

Van Dyke was born in Illinois, and launched his career as a comedian by joining the touring ensemble in the Air Force.

"In the service, you can steal other people's material," Dick said in 2015 of realizing his brother's talent for the first time. "I didn't realize how good he was. The main thing about Jerry is that he's funny from the inside out."

RELATED: Jerry Van Dyke through the years

33 PHOTOS
Jerry Van Dyke through the years
See Gallery
Jerry Van Dyke through the years
LOS ANGELES - DECEMBER 1: THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW. Episode: 'Stacey Petrie Part II.' Featuring Jerry Van Dyke (as Stacey Petrie). Image dated December 1, 1964. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)
(Original Caption) Dick Van Dyke's brother Jerry (left) and his costars from the television series, Mary Tyler Moore accept Dick's Emmy Award here September 12 from Jimmy Durante. Comedian Dick Van Dyke and singer Barbara Streisand won the top television awards for their shows of last year.
circa 1965: Headshot portrait of American actor Jerry Van Dyke. (Photo by NBC Television/Getty Images)
Actor and Comedian Jerry Van Dyke Holding a Cigarette (Photo by ?? John Springer Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
THE HOLLYWOOD PALACE - Airdate: April 11, 1964. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) JERRY VAN DYKE WITH CHORUS
LOVE, AMERICAN STYLE - 'Love and the Nutsy Girl' - Airdate January 29, 1971. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) ANJANETTE COMER;JERRY VAN DYKE
LOVE, AMERICAN STYLE - 'Love and the Nutsy Girl' - Airdate January 29, 1971. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) ANJANETTE COMER;JERRY VAN DYKE
THAT GIRL - 'Leaving the Nest is For the Birds' - Airdate March 2, 1967. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) JERRY VAN DYKE;MARLO THOMAS;TED BESSELL
COACH - 'Gambling for Meat' - Airdate: April 5, 1989. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) L-R: KENNETH KIMMINS;JERRY VAN DYKE;CRAIG T. NELSON
COACH - 'Gambling for Meat' - Airdate: April 5, 1989. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) L-R: JERRY VAN DYKE;CRAIG T. NELSON
COACH - 'I'm in Love with a Boy Named Stuart' - Airdate: March 15, 1989. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) L-R: JERRY VAN DYKE;CRAIG T. NELSON;BILL FAGERBAKKE;NICK TOTH
COACH - Pilot - Shoot Date: April 13, 1988. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) JERRY VAN DYKE
COACH - Cast Gallery - Shoot Date: October 29, 1988. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) L-R: SHELLEY FABARES;BILL FAGERBAKKE;CRAIG T. NELSON;JERRY VAN DYKE;CLARE CAREY
COACH - 'Carnival Knowledge' - Airdate: February 20, 1990. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) L-R: BILL FAGERBAKKE;JERRY VAN DYKE;PAM STONE
Jerry Van Dyke and Craig T. Nelson during Universal Studios Private Party at the Grand Cypress Resort - June 6, 1990 at Grand Cyprus Resort in Orlando, Florida, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
COACH - 'Sunshine on My Shoulder Makes Me Happy: A Show About Bird Ransom' - Airdate: March 20, 1990. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) L-R: JERRY VAN DYKE;CRAIG T. NELSON
COACH - 'Professor Doolittle' - Airdate: March 13, 1990. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) JERRY VAN DYKE
COACH - 'Hayden Fox for Universal Jocks' - Airdate: March 26, 1991. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) L-R: JERRY VAN DYKE;CRAIG T. NELSON
COACH - 'The Marion Kind' - Airdate: February 5, 1991. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) L-R: JERRY VAN DYKE;DICK MARTIN
Jerry Van Dyke and Dick Van Dyke during 43rd Annual Emmy Awards - Pre-Emmy Award Gala at Westwood Marquis Hotel in Westwood, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JOHNNY CARSON -- Pictured: (l-r) Comedian Jerry Van Dyke during an interview with guest host Jay Leno on July 3, 1991 -- (Photo by: Joseph Del Valle/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Jerry Van Dyke and Shirley Jones during 43rd Annual Emmy Awards at Pasadena Civic Center in Pasadena, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
American actor and comedian Jerry Van Dyke with his wife Shirley and daughter Jerri Lynne Van Dyke at the 1992 Primetime Emmy Award Nominee Pre-Party, 25th August 1992. (Photo by Kypros/Getty Images)
COACH - 'Can We Go Home Now?' - Airdate: May 18, 1992. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) JERRY VAN DYKE
Dick Van Dyke and Jerry Van Dyke during Dick Van Dyke Honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7021 Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Jerry Van Dyke and Dick Van Dyke during 7th Annual American Comedy Awards at Shrine Exposition Center in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
TO GRANDMOTHER'S HOUSE WE GO - Made-for-TV Movie - Airdate: December 6, 1992. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) RHEA PERLMAN;JERRY VAN DYKE
TV actor/comedian Jerry Van Dyke (front-C) & wife Shirley in audience w. others enjoying Jerry Van Dyke Day, a celebration honoring him as 1 of town's favorite sons, at the Club Lamplighter where he first performed stand-up comedy. (Photo by Kevin Horan/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
TV actor/comedian Jerry Van Dyke (R) at podium joking w. Danville's Mayor Robert Jones after Jones presented him w. commemorative plaque as sign in rear announces Jerry Van Dyke Day, a celebration honoring him as 1 of town's favorite sons. (Photo by Kevin Horan/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
Jerry Van Dyke during 1995 ABC Winter Press Party at Ritz Carlton Hotel in Pasadena, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
COACH - 'Viva Las Ratings' Gallery - Airdate: February 26, 1997. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) KATHY KINNEY;JERRY VAN DYKE
THE MIDDLE - 'Flirting with Disaster' - Frankie finds herself innocently flirting with Axl's hot friend, Finn. But when she makes a not-so-innocent remark about him to her sister, she fears that both Finn and Axl may have overheard her conversation. Meanwhile, Sue is forced to take Brick to a 'Planet Nowhere' sci-fi convention, and Frankie's dad, Tag (Jerry Van Dyke), asks Mike to secretly help him study and pass his driver's test so that he can keep his license from being taken away, on 'The Middle,' WEDNESDAY, MARCH 4 (8:00-8:30 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Michael Ansell/ABC via Getty Images)
THE MIDDLE - 'Two of a Kind' - Frankie and Mike find themselves caught in the middle of a long standing family feud when Frankie's Uncle Dutch (Dick Van Dyke) contacts her dad, Tag (Jerry Van Dyke), in an attempt to reunite and bury the hatchet with his estranged brother. Meanwhile, a fearful Sue receives her first detention ever for being caught going off campus for lunch and seeks advice from Axl on how to survive the ordeal unscathed, on 'The Middle,' WEDNESDAY, APRIL 22 (8:00-8:30 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Michael Ansell/ABC via Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

He soon launched a television career, appearing on "The Dick Van Dyke Show" for a handful of episodes as Stacey Petrie, the military younger brother of Dick's Rob Petrie.

In the 1960s, he headlined two short-lived NBC sitcoms: "My Mother the Car," which ran from 1965 to 1966, and "Accidentally Family," from 1967 to 1968.

“I became known as the guy who did the worst show in the history of television,” he joked to People of “Mother” in 1993. “At least it took the edge off being Dick Van Dyke’s brother.”

He occasionally appeared on television alongside brother Dick, most recently in a 2015 episode of “The Middle.”

In the years following, Van Dyke rounded out his resume with stints on dozens of popular TV shows, including "The Ed Sullivan Show," "Charles In Charge," "The Love Boat," "My Name Is Earl," and "Yes, Dear," where he appeared as the father of Jim Belushi's character.

However, his best-known role came as Luther Van Dam on "Coach," a sitcom which ran from 1989 to 1997 on ABC.

Van Dyke scored four Emmy nominations for his role as an assistant coach for a college football team alongside Craig T. Nelson.

More recently, Van Dyke starred in a guest spot on ABC sitcom "The Middle" as Tag Spence, the father of Patricia Heaton's Frankie Heck.

In 2015, brother Dick appeared alongside him in an episode as his character's brother.

"We are becoming closer. I'm really getting to know him better at this age," Jerry said that year of working with his brother. "The nicer he is to me, the more I think he thinks I'm going to die."

Van Dyke is survived by Shirley, his wife of 40 years, and two children.

Read Full Story