After turning 98, Dick Van Dyke reflected on his career and admitted that he’s been “pretty lazy” when it comes to looking for acting projects over the years.
“As a businessman, I’m not much good. I would do a movie and come home, and just sit down and wait for the phone to ring. I wasn’t aggressive,” Van Dyke shared in an interview on CBS’ Sunday Morning on Sunday, December 17. “I was out of work a lot because I didn’t go out and look for it.”
The legendary actor admitted he doesn’t have “a lot of drive” but has been “very lucky” in life. Van Dyke’s career has spanned more than seven decades, with iconic movies under his belt, including Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Mary Poppins.
Van Dyke explained that his “whole career has depended on” having fun.
“If I’m not enjoying myself, I’m really bad,” he said during Sunday’s interview. “It’s such a blessing to find a way of making a living that you love, that you’d do for nothing. I feel so sorry for people who hate their jobs. I look forward to going to work every morning.”
To celebrate his 70-year career, CBS is airing the Dick Van Dyke 98 Years of Magic, which is set to feature a modernized version of The Dick Van Dyke Show set, and musical tributes to the star.
“I’m on my third generation. I’m getting letters from little kids. And that’s what I love,” he said. “They watch the movies over and over. I’m getting so much more mail today than I did during the heyday of my career.”
Van Dyke turned 98 on December 13, and when looking back on his life, he noted there’s one thing he would change.
“If I had known I was going to live this long I would have taken better care of myself. Yeah, because I went through that whole period of alcoholism,” he said during the Sunday Morning interview, noting that his wife, Arlene Silver, makes sure he works out three times a week.
On a more somber note, Van Dyke said he finds it unsettling that, of all his friends in Hollywood, “there’s no one left.” The actor combats his sadness by “making new friends” and trying new things.
When it comes to his tribute special, Van Dyke was in the audience watching the two-hour show for the live taping.
“You think, ‘I don’t deserve this,’ but it’s difficult to say how I felt,” he told People earlier this month. “I came home, and I said, ‘You know something? It’s going to be a couple of days before this actually sinks in that it happened.’ I never expected that kind of recognition. My whole life went before me. I didn’t realize I had done so many things while I was 75 years in show business.”
Dick Van Dyke 98 Years of Magic premieres on CBS Thursday, December 21 at 9 p.m. ET.