Margie Willett is the ex-wife of the American actor and singer, Richard Wayne ‘Dick’ Van Dyke.
Margie was born Marjorie Willett in 1927 in Danville, Illinois. She kicked the bucket in 2008 when she was 81 years old.
As already mentioned, Margie Willett has already passed away. She died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 81.
Though Dick Van Dyke had already separated from her, he was deeply heartbroken by the news.
Even though we were long divorced, with her death, I lost a part of myself.
Ex-Wife of Van Dyke
Margie Willett and her ex-husband, Dick Van Dyke first met in her hometown, Danville, Illinois, in 1947. They started dating in 1945 after Willett dumped her high school boyfriend. The couple got engaged a month into their relationship.
All through high school, she had dated a boy who was on both the football and wrestling teams. His neck was thicker than my entire body. After she ditched him for me, he wanted to kill me. We would be sitting in her parents’ living room and suddenly hear him out front yelling, “Van Dyke, come out here! I’ll bust you up!” Given that he loved to fight, I took that as my signal to race out the back door. He never did catch on or catch me.
Willett and Dyke shared their vows on February 12, 1948, in LA. They married in a live broadcast of the ABC radio show, Bride and Groom in front of a minister while 15 million people listened.
The duo was broke to bear the expenses of their wedding. So, the radio producer sponsored their marriage and honeymoon after agreeing to marry on the show.
Van Dyke hadn’t made it big at the time. He and Margie lived in their car for a while. They later lived in a duplex in Malibu early on in his acting career from where they were evicted for failure to pay rent.
During their relationship, Margie was addicted to a prescription drug called Librium. Similarly, her husband was addicted to alcohol. They even went to the same hospital for treatment in 1972.
Why did Margie and Van Dyke Divorce?
After 36 glorious years of marriage, on May 4, 1984, Margie Willett and Dick Van Dyke parted ways. They had separated a few years prior to finalizing their divorce.
The reason for their divorce? Infidelity!
Her husband got into an affair with his agent’s secretary, Michelle Triola.
She was easy to talk to, she understood me.Van Dyke’s memoir, My Lucky Life in and Out of Show Business
They kept their relationship a secret until Van Dyke felt overwhelmed with guilt. He confessed everything about their relationship in 1976.
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.
Following their divorce, Margie stayed out of the media reach. It’s only natural since she never liked Hollywood or its stars. Prior to her demise, she was believed to have been living on her family’s ranch in Cave Creek, Arizona.
Margie didn’t like Hollywood, or its stars, but she made an exception when, in 1972, we were invited to dinner – cooked by Frank Sinatra.
As for Richard, he lived with Michelle until her death due to lung cancer in 2009.
He then got into a relationship with Arlene Silver, whom he met at a Screen Actors Guild Awards dinner in 2006. They married in 2012 though they had a 46-year age difference. They are married to this date.
Four Kids with Her Ex-Husband
Margie Willett and her ex-husband, Dick Van Dyke, have four children, Carrie Beth, Stacy, Christian, and Barry Van Dyke.
Their eldest son, Christian was born on May 13, 1950, in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. He married Carline Anne Young on August 22, 1970, but divorced several years later. They had a daughter, Jessica, who died in 1987 of Reye’s Syndrome.
Barry was born as Van Dyke and Willett’s second child on July 31, 1951, in Atlanta. The 70-year-old is married to Mary Carey Van Dyke since 1974.
From Barry, Margie and Richard have four grandchildren, Shane, Carey, Taryn, and Wes Van Dyke.
Carrie was born in 1954. The 68-year-old was married to Kevin McNally on May 23, 1983, and had two children with him.
Stacy is the youngest among four siblings. She was born in 1961 in Los Angeles. She also appeared on her father’s show, The New Dick Van Dyke Show in 1971.
Prior to having children, Margie became pregnant with twins. However, she had a miscarriage.
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