Dick Van Dyke is a Hollywood legend, who is best-known for two of the best musicals of the 1960s – Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. He also starred in over 150 episodes of his own comedy series The Dick Van Dyke Show from 1961-1966, and almost 180 episodes of Diagnosis Murder between 1993-2001.
It may come as a surprise to some of you that the soap opera Days of Our Lives, which began in 1965, is still on air. It’s best known to those of a certain generation as the TV series that Joey Tribbiani of Friends gets a role in, as Doctor Drake Romoray. Days of Our Lives has almost 15,000 episodes – which is hard to wrap your head around.
And Dick Van Dyke, who is now 97 years old, is making a guest appearance on Days of Our Lives, as a man with amnesia. Speaking to Access Hollywood, Van Dyke revealed how he got involved; “Drake [Hogestyn, who has starred in Days of Our Lives since 1986] and I went to the same gym together. I used to kid him; ‘don’t you have any parts for old people? Come on, give me a part!’ And he took me seriously and he got me a part [laughs].”
Van Dyke says of his character; “I have played old men before, but comedy old men. First time I’ve ever played just my 97-year-old self.” Van Dyke’s Mary Poppins co-star Julie Andrews, who is now 87 years old, is also still going strong. She mostly now does voiceover roles in the likes of the Despicable Me franchise (as Gru’s Mom), Bridgerton (as Lady Whistledown), and in Aquaman (as Karathen).
While Days of Our Lives’ longevity is certainly an achievement, it’s not as long-running as the soap opera Coronation Street in the UK, which has been going since 1960. Coronation has less episodes though, a paltry 10,640.
Check out our guide to the best TV series of all time.