Dick Van Dyke on the Secret to a Long Life and Why He Has No Plans to Retire (Exclusive)

Dick Van Dyke just made history after becoming the oldest actor at 98 years old to win a Daytime Emmy Award. His secret to a long life? Bust a sweat.

The legendary actor exclusively spoke to ET's Deidre Behar ahead of winning a winged woman statuette in the Guest Performance in a Daytime Drama Series category for his role as Mystery Man/Timothy Robicheaux on Days of Our Lives. Van Dyke was gobsmacked after learning from Behar about his historic nomination.

"Am I really the oldest? I didn't know I was the oldest," he said. "I'll be darn. I think I'm the last of my generation, really. I'm 98. I have almost all my marbles. I can't remember what I had for breakfast."

Dick Van Dyke

Dick Van Dyke

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Van Dyke has been in Hollywood and everyone's hearts for nearly 70 years, captivating audiences with The Dick Van Dyke Show, Diagnosis Murder, Bye Bye Birdie, and, of course, Mary Poppins. His success has transcended generations, but don't expect him to slow down anytime soon. Especially when, to this day, he continues hitting the gym three days a week.

"Yes, I do. For being this long lived, I really do," he said. "And I recommend it to everybody. That's my secret weapon."

Dick Van Dyke

Dick Van Dyke after making history as the oldest actor at 98 to win a Daytime Emmy Award.


Van Dyke received a roaring ovation Friday night at the Westin Bonaventure in Los Angeles, California after hitting the stage to accept his Daytime Emmy.

"I don't believe this. I feel like a spy from nighttime television," he quipped onstage. "I'm the oldest nominee in history. I can't believe it. I I have been playing old men all my life. If I had known I would live this long I would have taken care of myself."

Van Dyke also praised the Days of Our Lives cast for accepting him into their close-knit family.

"You guys treated me so nicely," he said. "I had such a wonderful time."

No doubt, Van Dyke's synonymous with Hollywood, and that he's done so without working a day in his life is a marvel. It's all fun and games for him.

Dick Van Dyke

Dick Van Dyke at the 51st Annual Daytime Emmy Awards.


"It isn't work, it's play" he tells ET. "Actors are so lucky. I've had such a good time."

Yes, Van Dyke is aware that he is one letter away from cementing EGOT status. He's missing that coveted Oscar, and he offered an emphatic "Yeah! Give me a shot at it" when asked if he would like the opportunity to score an Academy Award.

And, in classic Van Dyke fashion, he added, "I hope it's not posthumous."

The 51st Annual Daytime Emmy Awards air Friday, June 7 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on CBS and Paramount+.


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