When season nine of “The Masked Singer” recenly premiered, viewers and judges alike were star-struck when one contestant, dressed as a gnome in a dark green cloak and a bright red beard, took off his disguise to be revealed as none other than beloved American entertainer Dick Van Dyke.
Judge Nicole Scherzinger was close to tears after the reveal, saying, “I can’t believe you’re here. I’m trying to play it cool, but you look so gorgeous! You look so handsome!”
Other judges took the moment to let Van Dyke know how he had inspired their careers, with Ken Jeong telling him, “You are one of the reasons I got into comedy. You are comedy.”
Van Dyke, humble despite his long and accomplished career that has seen him win five Emmys, a Tony Award and a Grammy, flashed his trademark smile and thanked the judges for their comments.
Van Dyke performed the Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra classic “When You’re Smiling,” prompting the judges to guess his identity as everyone from Robert DeNiro to Dustin Hoffman.
Van Dyke told Entertainment Weekly that knowing everyone would be shocked to see him was a part of why he agreed to the show, saying, “I was so positive that nobody would guess it was me, that they would have somebody 97 years old on there. I knew I was gonna fool them. They were so surprised. I stepped out and everybody’s mouths dropped open.”
Van Dyke proved his age has not affected his humor in the least, joking, “The experience was weird, because they have to keep it a secret from the crew. So I walked around with my head covered with people leading me. They’ve got a nice crew, but I never got to meet any of them! I would say it’s the weirdest thing I’ve ever done.”
Van Dyke asked to sing ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” as his end song over the producer’s suggestion of “Chim Chim Cher-ee” as he felt it was more fun to sing, commenting, “A lot of the audience started to sing with us, too. It was great, great fun to bring back those memories for people.”
Van Dyke has been performing for over seventy years, with his role in 1961’s “Bye Bye Birdie” earning him a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical. Following that win, he starred in the sitcom “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” Hollywood studio movies “Bye Bye Birdie,” “Mary Poppins,” “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” and “The Comic” as well as many guest appearances on popular television shows.