Famed actor and comedian Jerry Van Dyke died on Friday at his Arkansas ranch at the age of 86.
According to his wife, Shirley Ann Jones, he died from heart failure that followed a tough 2-and-a-half years of debilitating health after a severe car accident in 2015.
Jerry was the younger brother of comedian Dick Van Dyke and is most beloved for his role as “Luther Van Dam” on the late 80’s/early 90’s show Coach.
RIP Jerry Van Dyke. Everyone loved Luther! pic.twitter.com/Fz4YQC7Zlv
— Austin Kellerman (@AustinKellerman) January 6, 2018
The on-stage persona was only matched by his real-life charisma which he often displayed on numerous late night shows, where he was a frequent guest.
According to AV Club:
“Van Dyke was already a successful touring stand-up and military veteran when he made his first appearances on the national stage, bringing his comic stylings—and banjo-playing prowess—to shows like the anthology series G.E. True and the John Wayne film McClintock!
“He got his big break, though, when he was cast on The Dick Van Dyke Show, appearing as Stacey Petrie, the sleepwalking-afflicted brother of his real-life sibling’s exasperated Rob. Van Dyke made the most of the gimmicky premise, investing Stacey’s somnambulistic party guy persona with an irresistible energy, while simultaneously making the most of his waking life’s endearing, stuttering shyness.”
— Nicholas Lex Patrick (@NickPatrickNYC) January 6, 2018
Finally, in 1989, he landed the role on Coach that would occupy his career for eight years and eventually win him 4 Emmy Nominations.
Celebrities and colleagues have reacted to the tragic news:
We just learned of Jerry Van Dyke's passing. Our hearts go out to his family, and most especially @iammrvandy who was so close with his brother. Rose Marie worked with Jerry several times including summer stock, The Love Boat, and @dickvandykeshow pic.twitter.com/4y32ItJKeq
— Rose Marie-Official (@RoseMarie4Real) January 6, 2018
Much love to my wonderful TV dad #jerryvandyke and condolences to my TV dad-in-law #dickvandyke. Jerry, you were hilarious and terrifically talented – what an honor to be able to watch up close as you and your brother create your special magic. Rest In Peace Jerry… pic.twitter.com/O5Sx12vK3q
— Patricia Heaton (@PatriciaHeaton) January 6, 2018
In one interview on David Letterman’s late night show, Jerry displayed his brash, charismatic energy that won the hearts of viewers across the nation:
Jerry is survived by his wife and 2 children.