Dick Van Dyke had a career that transcended genres. From his early days in broadway to starring on a show with his name and his subsequent roles in other films, Dyke has a career that anyone would be jealous of. Best known for his work as Rob Petrie on the CBS television sitcom The Dick Van Dyke Show, almost everything that is known about the 95-year-old Disney legend has been written on media. What remains to be known are a few details here and there and one of those details is Dyke’s relationship with his first wife Margie Willett. So, for this article, we will take a closer look at Willett and the pair’s relationship.
Early Life and Career:
Margie Willett is not a popular character in mainstream media. Dyke’s former wife barely gets a mention when talking about him and for good reason. Nothing is known about the lady, save the fact that she was born in 1927 in Danville, Illinois. There are no records of her being employed and there are no businesses registered to her name. As a result, Willett barely appears on mainstream media and has remained an unexplored part of Dyke’s life.
Margerie Willett was first noticed when she began dating Dick Van Dyke. At the time, Dyke was still trying to find a place for himself in Hollywood. Coming out of a life of anonymity, Willett and Dyke decided to tie the knot on the 12th of February, 1948, at Chapman Park Hotel located on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, California. The marriage took place on the radio show “Bride and Groom” because the show paid for the wedding rings, honeymoon & household appliances, and while Dyke didn’t plan his wedding to be a promotional event, the opportunity was too good to pass up. The pair tied the knot on the radio show and went off for their sponsored Honeymoon at Mt. Hood Oregon Resort in Welches, Oregon.
Struggle & Divorce:
At the time, Dyke was a struggling entertainer and had yet to hit the heights of fame which he achieved later on in his career. Things were rough for the newly married pair and they ended up scrapping to make ends meet. However, Dyke rose to fame over the years and was able to make sure that the family was well-off and had everything they wanted. In 36-years as a married couple, the pair had four lovely children, Carrie Beth, Stacy, Barry, and Chris.
However, things began changing over the years, and Willett who had never liked Hollywood started spending more time on the family ranch. Distanced from his wife, Dyke began confiding in his agent’s secretary, Michelle Triola. However, consumed with guilt Dyke knew he had to put things to rest
“She was easy to talk to, she understood me. At the time, Michelle was suing actor Lee Marvin, with whom she had a six-year relationship. I was drawn into a relationship. I was involved with a woman other than my wife. It was unbelievable. I was writhing in guilt. By 1976 I had to do something. I needed to be honest.”
Eventually, Dyke divorced his wife of 36 years in 1984.
Life after divorce & death:
Following the divorce, Willet hid from the media and was never to be seen. However, in 2007, Willet was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and ultimately succumbed to her illness a year later. The death of his first wife had a huge impact on Dyke, who wrote, “Even though we were long divorced, with her death I lost a part of myself.”
A year later Dyke lost Michell and has since tied the knot with Arlene Silver. The pair tied the knot in 2012, despite many questioning their 46-year age difference.