Margie Willett was an American famous husband and media personality widely popular as the legendary actor’s first wife Dick Van Dyke. She rose to fame as the first wife of the Bye bird actor in 1948.
The couple was married for nearly four decades before breaking up. And despite being a famous woman and media personality, Willett maintained a low-key lifestyle and stayed out of the limelight as much as possible.
Sadly, the former famous husband passed away in 2008. Today in this article below we will talk about her life, her marriage to Dick Van, details of her children and more. We will also talk about the current whereabouts of her former husband. Did Dyke marry anyone after Margie? Find out here.
Margie Willett was born and raised in Illinois
Famous husband Margie was born Marjorie Torrell Willett in 1926 in Danville, Illinois, USA. She was of American nationality and was of white white ethnicity.
She grew up in her hometown for most of her life and attended a local high school. Since Margie was a very private person, not much is known about her parents and siblings.
On the other hand, Dick Van Dyke was born on December 13, 1925 in West Plains, Missouri to Loren Wayne Van Dyke and Hazel Victoria McCord. His mother was a stenographer and his father was a salesman.
He grew up in Danville, Illinois with his younger brother Jerry Van Dyke, who is also an actor.
Margie Willett met her ex-husband Dick Van Dyke in high school
The former husband-wife first met during their teenage years, while Willett was still in high school at the time. Likewise, she was in a relationship with a fellow classmate who was on the soccer and wrestling teams when she fell in love with Dyke.
Years later, Dick remembers the early stages of their relationship and spells them out in his book, My lucky life inside and outside show business. He says,
“All through high school, she had been in a relationship with a boy who was on both the soccer and wrestling teams. After she dumped him for me, he wanted to kill me.”
Although the couple fell in love as teenagers, they were unexpectedly together for nearly four decades.
Margie Willett and husband Dick married on a radio show
As we’ve already talked about their initial relationship details, it’s clear that the couple was too young at the time. Dyke was also still in the difficult phase and Margie did not have a stable job.
And after about a month of dating, the couple decided to get married on the broadcast of ABC’s radio talk show called Bride and Groom due to financial problems. They married on February 12, 1948.
In exchange for their on-air wedding, the show’s producer paid for the former’s honeymoon. The couple was in such financial despair that they lived in a car for a while after their marriage.
Margie and Dyke were among 1,000 couples who married in front of a pastor, two microphones and 15 million listeners.
From their marriage of more than three decades, the former husband-wife shares four children: Carrie Beth Van Dyke, Christian Van Dyke, Stacy Van Dyke and Barry Van Dyke. All four are actors by profession.
Margie Willett was artistic, but not in Hollywood
During an interview with the guard, Dyke reminisces about Willett and tells the world what she really was like. According to him, Willet was very artistic but not very fond of the showbiz industry
Likewise, the only time we got to see Margie was only at public events she attended with her husband. And even during the events, she walked to the sidelines after seeing her husband chatting with several people.
Dyke also recalled how he and Willett were mistaken for brother and sister because of her short hair and her makeup-free looks. He shares,
“One time when I appeared on a magazine cover, Margie took six copies and asked the cashier if she was my mother,”
The late husband of celebrity Dyke had addiction problems
People who know Dick Van clearly know about his alcohol abuse and addiction. After spending years as a drunk, Dyke decided to seek help and entered rehab.
Thanks to his decision, his drinking habit was gone and he was rescued in time. And on the day of his release from rehab, Margie went to the same place for her addictions. It turned out that she became addicted to her prescribed antidepressants.
The mother of four spent some time in the hospital trying to get over her addiction. After her release, she began to spend most of her time on their ranch in the desert. And while she did her best to come back to life, Dick was busy finding love in other places.
Dick Van Dyke’s infidelity led to him and Margie Willett getting divorced
In 2016, the Murder 101 actor published a book called Keep Moving in which he talks about his life experiences. He has written down every detail of his life, from injuries on set to his marriages. And while he does, he also gets into the real reason behind the divorce from Margie.
While Margie was in rehab seeking help for her addiction, Dyke became associated with his agent’s secretary and former actress Michelle Triola.
The actor was so taken with the actress’s personality that they began dating, although he was still married to Margie. In the book, Dyke wrote,
“Michelle was easy to talk to, she understood me. Michelle then sued actor Lee Marvin, with whom she had a six-year relationship. I was drawn into a relationship. I was in a relationship with a woman other than my wife. It was incredible. I writhed with guilt.”
In addition, the Curious George actor told about his infidelity to his then wife years later, not until 1976. When Margie and Dick heard the news, they decided to split up and didn’t divorce until May 4, 1984.
After their divorce, Dyke lived with Michelle at their Malibu home until her death in 2009. On the other hand, Margie remained single.
Margie Willett died at age 81
Unfortunately, in 2007 the mother of four children was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She battled the disease for about a year before losing her battle in 2008. She was 81 years old when she died.
According to Dyke’s statement, he lost a part of himself when Margie died. Willett was survived by her children and family. Likewise, she had five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
As of 2022, her ex-husband has been married to his second wife, makeup artist Arlene Silver, since February 29, 2012. The couple first met at an awards dinner in 2006 and have a 46-year age difference.