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Comedian Jerry Van Dyke dies at age 86

by Lynde Langdon
Posted 1/06/18, 06:33 pm

Comedian Jerry Van Dyke, who starred as the dim-witted sidekick in television’s Coach, died Friday in Arkansas, according to his manager. He was 86. Van Dyke guest starred on numerous TV series—including The Andy Griffith Show, Perry Mason, and The Middle—but was best known in his early career as the brother of actor Dick Van Dyke. He was born in Danville, Ill., in 1931, six years after his brother. He said he knew from childhood that he wanted to be a comedian, and grew up listening to the radio shows of Bob Hope, Red Skelton, and others. He had his first acting gig as a guest on The Dick Van Dyke Show as Rob Petrie’s banjo-playing brother. Jerry Van Dyke served in the Air Force during the Korean War and spent much of that time entertaining colleagues at military shows with jokes and banjo playing. His role on Coach from 1989 to 1997 alongside Craig T. Nelson cemented his viability as an entertainer outside his brother’s shadow. Nelson paid homage to his former co-star Saturday: “I am incredibly sad to hear of Jerry’s passing. He was such a brilliant comedian and we had a great time working together on Coach.”

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Lynde Langdon

Lynde is a WORLD Digital assistant editor and reports on popular and fine arts. She lives in Wichita, Kan., with her husband and two daughters. Follow Lynde on Twitter @lmlangdon.

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