Margie Willett was an American celebrity best-known for being the ex-wife of legendary American actor Dick Van Dyke. She grew up in Illinois where she met Van Dyke and they dated for approximately one month before getting engaged. In 1948, the couple tied the knot in Los Angeles. It was way before Van Dyke achieved fame and riches and they didn’t even have money for their wedding. Their marriage and honeymoon were sponsored by a generous radio producer on whose show they agreed to marry. Life was really tough for the newlyweds as they both were struggling to survive before her husband shot to fame. At one point they suffered from addiction for which they sought treatment from the same rehabilitation center. Margie Willet was not very fond of showbiz and preferred to keep herself away from the limelight. After welcoming four children, their more than three and a half decades long marriage ended, in 1984. The reason for their divorce was Van Dyke’s infidelity. After divorce she never remarried and died in 2008 due to pancreatic cancer.
Rise to Fame
Margie Willett met Dick Van Dyke in her hometown Danville, Illinois in 1947. It was way before Van Dyke became rich and famous. They got engaged after dating for just one month and moved to Los Angeles in order to get married. The couple tied the knot on 12 February 1948 during a live broadcast of the radio show named ‘Bride and Groom’ as their wedding was sponsored by its producer. They were too broke to even bear the expenses of their own wedding, and therefore when the show producer approached them with the offer to pay for the wedding if they agree to marry on his show, they accepted the offer. The same generous producer paid for their honeymoon as well.
They also couldn’t afford a house and had to live in their car for a while before Van Dyke’s notable career kicked off. While they were married, the duo suffered from addiction. She was addicted to prescription drugs and her husband was addicted to alcohol. They went to the same rehabilitation center for treatment. Though Margie Willett was married to a Hollywood actor, she always shunned limelight and liked to keep her life private
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Family & Personal Life
Margie Willett was born as Marjorie Willett in 1927 in Danville, Illinois United States. She grew up in Illinois where she met Van Dyke. She was a very private person and not much is known about her parents, siblings, education details or her personal life.
She shared four children with Van Dyke named Barry Van Dyke, Carrie Beth Van Dyke, Stacy Van Dyke, and Christian Van Dyke. During the early years of their union, she suffered from a miscarriage and lost twins. She avoided media and limelight so that her children could live a normal life.
Turbulence started in their married life when Van Dyke fell into an extramarital affair with his agent’s secretary named Michelle Triola. They kept their affair secret until Van Dyke felt overwhelmed with guilt and confessed everything to his wife in 1976. He even paid Triola a six-figure amount; she was sued by her former live-in partner and actor Lee Marvin. This caused deeper problems in the marital life of Margie Willet and Dick Van Dyke and the couple ended their marriage on 4 May 1984.
After her divorce, she never remarried and disappeared from media. Her son, Barry Van Dyke, followed the footsteps of his father and became an actor. Following divorce, Dick Van Dyke married Triola and when she died in 2009, he remarried a much younger make-up artist Arlene Silver in 2012. Willet had five grandchildren named Shane, Carey, Taryn, Wes, and Jessica Van Dyke along with five great-grandchildren named Alex, Ava, Gracie, Jane, and Mia Van Dyke.
Margie Willet was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2007 and passed away in 2008.