Coach Star Jerry Van Dyke Dies at 86

Comedian was known as Dick's younger brother and for turning down 'Gilligan's Island'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 6, 2018 4:33 PM CST
Coach Star Jerry Van Dyke Dies at 86
In this Aug. 25, 1992 file photo, Jerry Van Dyke, left, and his brother, Dick, laugh during a party in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Chris Martinez, File)

Jerry Van Dyke, Emmy-nominated actor for his work on Coach and brother of Dick Van Dyke, has died at the age of 86, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Van Dyke's wife tells TMZ he died Friday at their ranch in Arkansas. She says his health had been declining since a car accident a few years ago. People reports Van Dyke's final television role was as Patricia Heaton's father on ABC's The Middle. He made his final appearance in 2015, capping an acting career that started more than 50 years earlier on The Dick Van Dyke Show by having Dick appear as his on-screen brother. THR states Van Dyke was known for playing characters that were "endearingly earnest and slow-witted."

Jerry Van Dyke got his start as a stand-up comic but never found the success of his older brother. He appeared on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Drew Carey Show, Fantasy Island, Raising Hope, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Judy Garland Show, and countless short-lived series. Until his role on Coach in the 1990s, Van Dyke was perhaps most famous for turning down the starring role on Gilligan's Island to instead star in My Mother the Car, which THR notes is "considered one of the worst shows in TV history" and was canceled after one season. “God knows I tried to make it earlier in life, but with all due respect to myself, nothing I ever did was any good,” Van Dyke said in 1993. He eventually earned four Emmy nominations playing Luther Van Dam on Coach. (More obituary stories.)

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