More Than 50 Years Later, Dick Van Dyke Finally Apologizes

While discussing an upcoming award ceremony, Dick Van Dyke made an announcement. He finally acknowledged something that has been widely discussed for years and years. After decades of criticism and gentle teasing, Van Dyke has finally apologized for what is regarded as the “most atrocious cockney accent in the history of cinema.”

Van Dyke, a well-known American actor, singer, comedian and dancer, made the statement in reference to his role in Disney’s 1964 film, 'Mary Poppins', a musical-fantasy based on P.L. Travers’ 8-book series of children’s novels.

In Mary Poppins, Mr. Van Dyke starred as Bert, “a cockney jack-of-all-trades” and close friend to Mary Poppins. However, ever since his performance in the acclaimed film, cinemagoers around the world have been teasing Van Dyke for his infamously off-tune cockney accent.

Now, Mr. Van Dyke, 91, has finally acknowledged the criticism. After being asked to attend the 2017 AMD British Academy Brittania awards (where he will be receiving a Bafta award for his influential role in television), an overjoyed Van Dyke remarked on his poor vocal acting in Mary Poppins, telling ‘The Guardian’: “I appreciate this opportunity to apologize to the members of Bafta for inflicting on them the most atrocious cockney accent in the history of cinema.”

Van Dyke has a prodigious work record in both film and television, appearing in early classics like ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” and popular TV comedies like ‘Scrubs’ and ‘The Dick Van Dyke Show’ (a series that won 15 Emmy’s).

Because of his acting talent and showmanship, Van Dyke has achieved numerous accolades, including 5 Emmys, a Grammy, a Tony, induction into TV’s Hall of Fame and the SAG Life Achievement Award (the highest honor in the Screen Actors Guild).

However, despite his wide-spanning career, Van Dyke has never forgotten the formative role of Bert and its impact on his professional image, telling the Guardian: “People in the UK love to rib me about my accent, I will never live it down. They ask what part of England I was meant to be from and I say it was a little shire in the north where most of the people were from Ohio.”

Surprisingly, Mr. Van Dyke has revealed that he was never told that his cockney accent was incorrect, exclaiming: “I was working with an entire English cast and nobody said a word, not Julie [Andrews], not anybody said I needed to work on it so I thought I was alright.”

Mr. Chantal Rickards, who is the chief executive for Bafta Los Angeles, was thrilled to hear that Van Dyke can attend the award ceremony, saying: “We look forward to his acceptance speech in whatever accent he chooses on the night. We have no doubt it will be supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”

Earlier this year, Dick Van Dyke made headlines when he took a stand against adult content in the video game and film industry. Van Dyke warned that today’s entertainment industries were a far cry from the fantastical and joyous world of Mary Poppins and according to the acclaimed actor, “He [Walt Disney] would have spoken out about it.”

Source: The Guardian
Photos: YouTube

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