June 27, 1966:
GOOD MORNING: The reasons for Dick Van Dyke’s five-year plan to retire from showbiz became apparent over the long weekend. It all started when we visited him at Columbia on the set of Yorkin-Lear’s “Divorce — American Style” — a film he’s enjoying while also admitting, “I will have had it with acting in five years” (when he would be 46 years old). Van Dyke’s Dramatic Features, Inc. and Tandem (Yorkin-Lear) completed a joint pact to film “John Henry and the Do-Right People” in October ’67 followng the latter’s “The Night They Raided Minsky’s,” and on the heels of the thesp’s in-succession “Garden of Cucumbers,” “Thrill A Minute,” “JapaneseTrain Robbery” plus a few tv specs… Disney had not yet discussed “Divorce American Style” with Dick, but many letters have already arrived complaining about his playing in the film (a revelation of the frightening divorce problem in the U.S.)… Saturday, after Van Dyke was dipped in cement at Grauman’s Chinese, Walt Disney winged him south for the preem of their “Lt.Robin Crusoe, USN” aboard the flight deck of the USS Kitty Hawk. (2006 update: Dick Van Dyke, 80, keeps “retiring.” He said, “I’m getting too old for this” — on his 48th birthday — after filming “The Morning After” but continued on with eight seasons of “Diagnosis Murder” and five years of the “Dick Van Dyke Show, ” tv specs and legit outings. And today, he’s starring in the “College Can Be Murder” seg of Hallmark’s “Murder 101” series. “My plans for retirement did not work out,” he told me.