Who Was Margie Willett, Dick Van Dyke’s First Wife, And Why Did She Pass?

Margie Willett gained recognition primarily as the former spouse of the celebrated actor, producer, writer, and comedian Dick Van Dyke. Van Dyke, whose illustrious career in the entertainment industry spans more than seven decades, is known for his roles in films and TV series such as “Mary Poppins Returns” and “Diagnosis: Murder: Town Without Pity.” Margie and Dick’s marriage brought her into the public eye. They were married for over 30 years before their relationship ended in divorce in 1984. Margie Willett passed away at the age of 81.

Who Is Margie Willett?

Margie Willett was born on January 30, 1926, in Danville, Illinois. She became known primarily through her marriage to famed actor and comedian Dick Van Dyke, whom she married in 1949. Together, they had four children: Christian, Barry, Stacy, and Carrie Beth. Margie preferred to stay out of the spotlight, yet she was a strong supporter of Dick’s career, even encouraging him to take on the iconic role in “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” Despite their 35-year marriage facing challenges, including Dick’s alcoholism, they remained together until their divorce in 1984. Margie passed away on March 8, 2008, at 81, leaving behind a legacy of kindness, generosity, and the profound impact she had on her family and those around her.

Margie Willett Biography

Marjorie Willett, known as Margie, was born in 1927 and grew up in Danville, Illinois. She met Dick Van Dyke in 1947, and after a whirlwind romance, they got engaged within a month. The couple moved to Los Angeles and were married in front of millions of listeners on the radio show “Bride and Groom.” Margie was a very private person, carefully keeping her personal life and her children’s lives away from the public eye. Despite being married to one of Hollywood’s most famous figures, she managed to shield her family from the paparazzi, allowing her children to enjoy a normal upbringing away from the spotlight.

Margie Willett Quick Information

Full NameMarjorie Willett
AliasMargie Willett
Date of Birth3 November 1927
Age at Death81 years old
Place of BirthDanville, Illinois, USA
Hair ColourBrown
Eye ColourGrey
Height5’4″ (163 cm)
Weight121 lbs (55 kg)
Sexual OrientationStraight
Marital StatusDivorced
Ex-HusbandDick Van Dyke
Famous ForBeing Dick Van Dyke’s ex-wife

How Old Was Margie Willett?

Margie Willett passed away at the age of 81. Her life, though closely tied to the limelight due to her marriage to Dick Van Dyke, remained largely private. She managed to keep her personal experiences and her family away from public scrutiny, focusing on providing a normal upbringing for her children despite their father’s fame.

Margie Willett Height, Weight & Physical Appearance

Hair ColorBlack and Grey
Hair LengthShort
Eye ColorBrown
Height (approx.)In Feet Inches: 5′ 4″In Meters: 1.64 mIn Centimetres: 164 cm
Weight (approx.)In Kilograms: 55 kgIn Pounds: 121 lbs.
Distinctive FeaturesWrinkles on Face
PiercingYes In ears
Body MeasurementsBreast-34, Waist-32

Margie stood at nearly 5 feet 4 inches tall. She had a fair complexion, complemented by her dark eyes and light brown hair. Her physical appearance was marked by a graceful simplicity that mirrored her private nature, despite her connection to a famous Hollywood personality.

Why Was Margie Willett Famous? 

Margie Willett came into the spotlight following her marriage to the acclaimed American actor Dick Van Dyke. Despite her preference for a private life, her connection to Van Dyke brought her into public awareness as the wife of one of Hollywood’s most beloved entertainers.

Early Life and Background

Margie Willett, originally from Danville, Illinois, remained rooted in her American nationality and white ethnicity throughout her lifetime. Renowned for her reserved nature, she intentionally distanced herself from the media circus, opting to shield her personal life from the public eye.

Family Life And Parenthood

It seems there’s a bit of confusion here. Margie Willett was married to Dick Van Dyke, not Robin Williams. However, I can expand on Margie Willett’s role as a devoted mother to her own children.

Margie Willett and Dick Van Dyke were parents to four children: Christian, Barry, Stacy, and Carrie Beth. Margie was deeply committed to providing her children with a nurturing and supportive upbringing, despite the challenges of her husband’s celebrity status. She prioritized instilling strong values in her children and encouraged them to pursue their passions wholeheartedly. Margie’s dedication to motherhood was evident in the loving home she created for her family, which remained the cornerstone of their lives.

Margie Willett’s Marriage

Margie and Dick Van Dyke’s journey began in their hometown of Danville, Illinois, in 1947, long before Dick achieved fame and fortune. Their romance blossomed quickly, and after just a month of dating, they made the bold decision to get engaged. However, financial constraints posed a challenge to their wedding plans. Unable to afford a traditional ceremony, they seized the opportunity to marry during a live broadcast of the ABC Radio show “Bride and Groom” on February 12, 1948. The show’s producer even covered their honeymoon expenses. Despite this unconventional start, their early married life was marked by hardship. Facing financial struggles, they found themselves living in their car for a period before Dick’s career took off.

Who Are Margie Willett’s Children? 

Margie and Dick Van Dyke’s family expanded to include four children: two daughters, Stacy and Carrie, and two sons, Barry and Christian. Among them, Barry has pursued a career in acting, following in his father’s illustrious footsteps. His passion for the craft has led him to carve out his own path in the entertainment industry, contributing to his family’s legacy in show business.

Christian Van Dyke Is Their First Child

Christian Van Dyke, the eldest of Margie and Dick Van Dyke’s children, was born in 1950. Despite making his acting debut at a young age on “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” Christian ultimately chose a different career path. After completing his education at Occidental College in Los Angeles, he furthered his studies by pursuing a law degree at Arizona State University. Following his graduation, Christian embarked on a successful legal career. He served as a deputy district attorney in Corvallis, assistant attorney general in Salem, and later became the district attorney in Marion County. Additionally, Christian ventured into the corporate world, working as corporate counsel for Nike before becoming the vice president of marketing at Patagonia. Through his diverse professional journey, Christian has established himself as a prominent figure in both the legal and corporate spheres.

Barry Van Dyke

Barry Van Dyke, Margie Willet and Van Dyke’s second child, entered the world on July 31, 1951. Despite being exposed to the entertainment industry from a young age due to his father’s career, Barry didn’t initially pursue acting. His father, Dick, made the deliberate choice to allow him to explore acting later in life. During his teenage years, Barry worked at a local movie theater, where serendipity led him to encounter his future wife, Mary Carey, at the age of 16.

He gained practical production experience by working as a gofer on “The New Dick Van Dyke Show,” where he held cue cards and immersed himself in the intricacies of television production. Leveraging his father’s connections, Barry secured an agent, which opened doors to roles as an extra and in minor parts in various films and shows such as “Galactica 1980,” “Airwolf,” and “Casino.” Through dedication and perseverance, Barry carved out his own path in the entertainment industry, building on the foundation laid by his illustrious family name.

Stacy Van Dyke

Stacy Van Dyke, the third child of Margie Willet and Van Dyke, was born around 1955 and displayed a natural talent for acting from a young age. She followed in her famous father’s footsteps, gracing the screen with her performances. Stacy showcased her acting skills in roles like Sally on “The New Dick Van Dyke Show” and Carol Hilton on “Diagnosis: Murder.” It was evident that acting was a passion for Stacy, as her father recognized her talent even before her television debut. During the 1970s, Stacy became involved with the Barnstormers, a performing group at the Windmill Dinner Theater, leaving an indelible mark on Phoenix’s theater history. Through her dedication and talent, Stacy carved out her own path in the entertainment industry, building on the legacy of her iconic family.

Carrie Beth Van Dyke Is The Couple’s Last Child

Carrie Beth Van Dyke, the youngest of Margie Willett and Van Dyke’s children, was born in 1961. Despite being born into a family synonymous with show business, Carrie opted for a life away from the spotlight. While her siblings pursued careers in acting, Carrie made occasional appearances on “The New Dick Van Dyke Show,” starring in two series episodes during the early ’70s. In 1983, Carrie married Kevin McNally, an actor and musician, who later appeared in 19 episodes of “Diagnosis: Murder” alongside her father. Preferring a more private existence, Carrie focused on nurturing her personal life and interests away from public scrutiny. Her decision reflects her desire for a balanced and fulfilling life beyond the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, prioritizing personal happiness over fame.

Margie’s Impact On Dick’s Career

Margie Willett may not have been as visible as her husband, but her influence on his success was profound. She often encouraged Dick Van Dyke to pursue his dreams and served as his strongest supporter throughout his career. Margie had a keen eye for talent and provided valuable feedback and ideas to enhance Dick’s performances. Her behind-the-scenes contributions played a significant role in shaping Dick’s career trajectory, making her an indispensable part of his journey to success.

The Dick Van Dyke Show

In 1961, Dick Van Dyke landed the lead role in the hit sitcom, “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” Margie Willett played a crucial role in helping him refine his character, Rob Petrie, and even made appearances in a few episodes herself. The show was a massive success and played a pivotal role in catapulting Dick’s career to new heights. Margie’s support and contributions behind the scenes were invaluable to the show’s success and Dick’s professional growth.

Later Projects

Margie continued to support Dick in his career, even as he pursued more serious roles in films like “Mary Poppins” and “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.” She was often by his side at premieres and award shows, providing unwavering support and serving as a constant source of strength for Dick. Her steadfast presence and encouragement played a significant role in Dick’s success and helped him navigate the challenges of fame and Hollywood.

Margie Willett’s Ex-Spouse

 Dick Van Dyke, originally named Richard Wayne Van Dyke, entered the world on December 13, 1925, in West Plains, Missouri, USA. Renowned as an American actor, entertainer, and comedian, he has left an indelible mark on the entertainment industry. His illustrious career has spanned an impressive seven decades, during which he has graced film, television, and the stage with his remarkable talent. Over the years, Dick has been honored with numerous prestigious awards, including a Golden Globe, Grammy, a Daytime Emmy, and an impressive four Primetime Emmys, recognizing his exceptional contributions to the world of entertainment.

Margie Willett’s Divorce 

Margie and Dick’s marriage, spanning 36 years, faced a tumultuous end due to infidelity. Dick engaged in an extramarital affair with Michelle Triola, his agent’s secretary, which remained clandestine until overwhelming guilt prompted him to confess to Margie in 1976. Following this revelation, the couple separated for eight years before officially divorcing on May 4, 1984. Despite the dissolution of their marriage, Margie chose not to remarry, while Dick pursued a relationship with Michelle Triola Marvin after her death. Eventually, Dick tied the knot with Arlene Silver, marking a new chapter in his personal life.

Why Margie Willet And Dick Van Dyke’s Marriage Ended After 36 Years

Margie Willet and Dick Van Dyke’s marriage encountered significant turbulence when Dick became involved in an extramarital affair with Michelle Triola, his agent’s secretary. This affair, which began in 1975 following Margie’s release from rehab, strained their relationship as Dick’s emotional connection with Michelle deepened into romance, leading to infidelity. The affair remained hidden until Dick, overwhelmed by guilt, confessed to Margie in 1976, causing immense pain and distress. Subsequently, they chose to separate, and their divorce was finalized in 1984 after 36 years of marriage. Margie, reportedly, never remarried and lived a quiet life until her passing.

What Did Margie Willett Do For A Living?

Margie Willett’s professional life remained largely undisclosed, as she intentionally chose to lead a life distanced from the glitz of Hollywood. While her husband, Dick Van Dyke, soared to fame as an acclaimed actor and entertainer, Margie focused on her role as a dedicated wife and mother.

Reports suggest that Margie primarily embraced the role of a committed stay-at-home mom, overseeing the household and nurturing their children while Dick pursued his thriving career. Her dedication to creating a nurturing environment allowed Dick to focus on his artistic pursuits and achieve success in entertainment.

Margie’s commitment to her family played a crucial behind-the-scenes role, providing stability and love within the family unit. Although specific details about her professional endeavors remain undisclosed, her significant contributions as a supportive partner and caring mother are evident.

Legacy And Philanthropy

After her divorce from Dick Van Dyke, Margie Willett redirected her attention towards philanthropy, dedicating herself to giving back to society. She became actively involved in supporting numerous charitable organizations, with a particular emphasis on those centered around education, the arts, and mental health awareness. Margie held a strong belief in the transformative power of the arts to heal and enrich communities, motivating her to make meaningful contributions in these areas. Through her philanthropic endeavors, Margie aimed to leave a positive and lasting impact on society, embodying her commitment to making the world a better place.

Margie Died In 2008, At Age 81, After Battling Pancreatic Cancer

The news of Margie Willett’s passing in 2008 came as a devastating blow to those who knew and loved her. At the age of 81, Margie lost her battle with pancreatic cancer, just a year after receiving the grim diagnosis. Her untimely death not only left a void in the lives of her family and friends but also deeply affected her ex-husband, Dick Van Dyke. Despite their divorce years earlier, Dick’s poignant reflections on Margie’s passing revealed the enduring bond they shared.

Interesting Facts About Margie Willett

  1. Early Meeting with Dick Van Dyke: Margie Willett’s journey with Dick Van Dyke began in 1947 in Danville, Illinois, where they crossed paths. At the time, Van Dyke was a struggling actor, and Margie worked as a makeup artist.
  2. Marriage on a Radio Show: Margie and Dick’s union took a unique turn when they tied the knot during a live broadcast of the ABC Radio show “Bride and Groom” on February 12, 1948. Financial constraints led them to this unconventional yet memorable decision, with the show even sponsoring their honeymoon.
  3. Supportive Spouse: Margie played a pivotal role in Dick Van Dyke’s career. Notably, she encouraged him to embrace the lead role in “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” a decision that significantly impacted his career trajectory, propelling him to stardom.
  4. Struggles with Addiction: Both Margie and Dick faced battles with addiction. Margie grappled with prescription drug addiction, while Dick confronted alcoholism. Their shared journey toward recovery included seeking treatment at the same rehabilitation center, marking a significant chapter in their lives.
  5. Private Life: Margie was renowned for her privacy, a stark contrast to her husband’s fame. Despite Dick’s celebrity status, Margie steadfastly shielded her personal life and that of her children from the public eye.
  6. Mother of Four: Margie and Dick Van Dyke welcomed four children into their family: Christian, Barry, Stacy, and Carrie Beth. Each child pursued diverse paths, with some venturing into the entertainment industry akin to their father’s profession.
  7. Impact on Dick Van Dyke: Margie’s influence extended far beyond their marital bond. Despite their eventual divorce, Dick credited Margie with profoundly impacting his life, particularly in his journey toward overcoming alcohol addiction.
  8. Philanthropy: Following her divorce, Margie redirected her focus toward philanthropy, actively supporting various charitable causes. Her contributions notably encompassed areas such as education, the arts, and mental health awareness.
  9. Battle with Cancer: Margie’s life took a somber turn upon her diagnosis with pancreatic cancer, a battle she bravely fought until her passing on March 8, 2008, at the age of 81. Her courageous fight against the disease left an indelible mark on those who knew her.
  10. Dick Van Dyke’s Tribute: Margie’s demise deeply impacted Dick Van Dyke, who expressed profound grief at her loss. He articulated that her passing left a profound void within him, underscoring the enduring connection they shared despite their marital separation.
  11. Low Profile: Margie’s commitment to a low-profile existence remained unwavering throughout her association with one of Hollywood’s most illustrious figures. Her steadfast prioritization of family over fame exemplified her values and priorities.
  12. Children’s Upbringing: Margie’s dedication to her children’s well-being was evident in her unwavering commitment to providing them with a nurturing and grounded upbringing. Despite the challenges posed by Dick’s celebrity status, Margie ensured that their children experienced a childhood characterized by love, stability, and support.

Margie’s Net Worth

Margie Willett’s estimated net worth at the time of her passing was around $1 million. Despite not attaining the same level of fame and success as her husband, she led a comfortable life. Margie’s legacy extends beyond material wealth; she left behind a legacy of love, kindness, and generosity. Through her devotion to her family and philanthropic endeavors, Margie made a lasting impact on those around her, enriching the lives of many with her compassion and goodwill.


Q:  Who was Margie Willett?

A: Margie Willett was the first wife of famous actor and comedian Dick Van Dyke. She was known for her private nature and support of her husband’s career.

Q:  How did Margie Willett and Dick Van Dyke meet?

A: They met in 1947 in Danville, Illinois, and got married a year later on a live radio show due to financial constraints.

Q: How many children did Margie Willett have?

A: Margie and Dick Van Dyke had four children: Christian, Barry, Stacy, and Carrie Beth.

Q:  What were some challenges Margie and Dick faced in their marriage?

A: They both struggled with addiction—Margie to prescription drugs and Dick to alcohol. They sought treatment together and overcame these issues.

Q:  Why did Margie Willett and Dick Van Dyke divorce?

A: Their marriage ended due to Dick’s affair with his agent’s secretary, Michelle Triola. They separated in 1976 and divorced in 1984.

Q:  What did Margie Willett do after her divorce?

A: She focused on philanthropy and maintained a low profile, dedicating her time to charitable causes.

Q:  How did Margie Willett die?

A: Margie Willett passed away from pancreatic cancer on March 8, 2008, at the age of 81.


Margie Willett led a life characterized by privacy and devotion to her family, particularly her husband Dick Van Dyke during his ascent to stardom. While her name may not have graced headlines, her significance as a steadfast wife and nurturing mother remains profound. Margie’s commitment to her family extended beyond the home, as she quietly contributed to charitable causes, reflecting her compassionate nature. Despite grappling with personal challenges, such as her battle with cancer, Margie exemplified resilience and grace, embodying strength in the face of adversity. Her legacy endures through the lasting impact she left on her loved ones and the philanthropic causes she supported, shaping the lives of those fortunate enough to have known her, including her renowned former spouse.

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