Fans Got Really Emotional at Julie Andrews’s Kennedy Center Honors Tribute to Dick Van Dyke

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Fans Got Really Emotional at Julie Andrews’s Kennedy Center Honors Tribute to Dick Van Dyke
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Julie Andrews's heartfelt speech about Dick Van Dyke on Sunday took viewers down memory lane in the best way possible.

At the 43rd annual Kennedy Center Honors in Washington D.C., which was pre-taped and broadcasted on CBS last night, Dick's lifelong work in the arts was celebrated, along with fellow honorees Debbie Allen, Joan Baez, Garth Brooks and Midori. As part of that celebration, Julie, 85, was asked to talk about her Mary Poppins costar's impressive career.

While donning her very own Kennedy Center Honors rainbow ribbon, which The Sound of Music star earned back in 2001, Julie introduced her 95-year-old friend.

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"I think Dick is as magical as [Mary Poppins] is. Like his character, Bert, in that movie, Dick seems to have found the secret to happiness. And, like Bert, Dick is many things. He's an artist, a one-man band, a profound philosopher, a high-stepping showman and spreader of charm. And there's a secret — good luck does rub off when he shakes hands with you."

Before handing off the tribute to Dick's friend, fellow actor-comedian Steve Martin, Julie described Dick as "endlessly kind, wildly imaginative, insanely talented and hilariously funny." Briefly stepping back into her role of Mary Poppins, Julie also remarked, "Every day is 'Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious' with you, Dick."

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The welcoming dose of nostalgia and beautiful tribute instantly warmed the hearts of those tuning in at home. "Their decades-long friendship is one the most precious things to happen in this life," one fan commented on Twitter. "Youngsters, pay attention. These people are icons," another remarked. "Queen @JulieAndrews talking about Dick Van Dyke has me feeling all the feelings!" a different fan said.

Dick and Julie's friendship goes all the way back to the 1960s when both were working on the classic Disney film Mary Poppins together. Julie once recalled to Vanity Fair that she met Dick during dance rehearsals and "hit it off" with him immediately.

Photo credit: Donaldson Collection
Photo credit: Donaldson Collection

"He was dazzlingly inventive, always in a sunny mood, and he often made me roar with laughter at his antics," Julie recalled to the publication. "For instance, when we began work on the 'Jolly Holiday' sequence, the first step we learned was the iconic walk, arm-in-arm, our legs kicking up ahead of us as we traveled. I performed Mary Poppins’s demure, ladylike version of the step — but Dick flung his long legs up so high that I burst out laughing. To this day, he can still execute that step."

Meanwhile, Dick has only said wonderful things about Julie in return. "She was a lady first and foremost, but she also had a great, whimsical sense of humor," Dick recalled to The Daily Mail. "I never once saw her get angry about anything or utter a single complaint.

Photo credit: Kevin Winter
Photo credit: Kevin Winter

The Chitty Chitty Bang Bang star also added: "Only one thing surpassed Julie’s spot-on instincts, and that was her voice. It scared me to death. It could have been used to tune a piano. She was pitch-perfect — and I never was."

In addition to Julie's kind words on Sunday, dancers Derek Hough and Laura Osnes, singer Aaron Tveit, and the group Pentatonix created a fun dance and singing number in honor of Dick's artistic accomplishments (which you can watch above). Meanwhile, Dick's Bye Bye Birdie castmate Chita Rivera described him as "pure joy," and Lin-Manuel Miranda, who acted with Dick in Mary Poppins Returns noted, "Spend five minutes with Dick Van Dyke and you're more alive than you were before."

Such a fun night celebrating a wonderful artist!

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