It was with a heavy heart that Jerry Van Dyke’s wife, Shirley Ann Jones, had to inform the media that her beloved husband had passed away at age 86.
Van Dyke is said to have passed away on Jan. 5 at his Arkansas ranch. Since a terrible traffic accident in 2015, the actor’s health had been declining.
The comic rose to fame for his role as Luther Van Dam on the football comedy “Coach,” which began in 1989. Prior to that, he had often lived in the shadows of his famous brother, Dick Van Dyke.
Jerry appeared on his brother’s infamous show “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” playing his on-screen sibling. From there, he also appeared on “The Judy Garland Show.”
It’s also reported Van Dyke was offered the role of Gilligan for “Gilligan’s Island” but turned it down for another sitcom that failed. (Can you imagine if he had played Gilligan instead of Bob Denver?)
After many guest appearances on shows and nightclub performances, his big break came with his longest-lasting role on “Coach.”
He would go on to earn four Emmy nominations for his performances.
In 2015, the brothers would be reunited on the show “The Middle,” which Jerry had a reoccurring role.
The episode featuring them both would be Jerry’s very last performance when the pair sang “Two of a Kind.”
Since news of his passing, Dick Van Dyke had remained silent until Jan. 8, when he finally posted on his Facebook page about the passing of his younger brother.
His words perfectly sum up their relationship and what he really felt about the man born with “an enlarged funny bone.”
“I never could fathom what it was he saw, but I knew that everything struck him funny.”
“An incredibly sane man, a little Huckleberry Finn, a littler Laurel & Hardy.”
“My favorite comic. I loved him. He deserved more.”
Dick even updated his profile photo to a picture of his brother instead of himself the same day he posted those touching words.
Truly, Jerry will be missed beyond measure by his family and friends. A comedic great who we’re sure is still smiling down on us all.