Several media sites are reporting that an Emmy-nominated actor from the cast of “Coach” has passed away. According to his wife Shirley, comedian Jerry Van Dyke passed away Friday at the age of 86 at his ranch in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
Van Dyke was the younger brother of actor Dick Van Dyke, and Jerry got his start in acting on “The Dick Van Dyke Show” in the 1960s. He went on to have a distinguished career as a comedic actor, including the role of Luther on the hit show “Coach,” which earned him four Emmy nominations.
Van Dyke’s wife Shirley told TMZ that the comedian died Friday at their Hot Springs, Arkansas ranch, adding that his health had steadily deteriorated following a car accident two years ago. The Van Dyke family also confirmed the actor’s death to WCAI, a CBS affiliate in Illinois; Jerry and Dick Van Dyke were both natives of Danville, Illinois.
After starting his career as a standup comedian – including stops on the Ed Sullivan Show and the Judy Garland Show – Van Dyke landed on a part-time role on the influential Dick Van Dyke Show, playing the fictional younger brother to his real-life brother’s character.
Van Dyke would soon launch 50-year career on television that included sitcom roles and frequent guest appearances on both Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show and David Letterman’s Late Show.
After dozens of television appearances over the following decades, Van Dyke landed his most memorable role as Luther Van Dam on Coach, playing the assistant coach and comedic foil to Craig T. Nelson’s titular character. Coach ran for nine seasons and nearly 200 episodes from 1989 to 1997, with Van Dyke receiving four Emmy nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for the role.
Van Dyke would later land reoccurring roles as a grandfather figure on sitcoms like The Middle and Yes, Dear. The actor’s death comes just a week after Rose Marie, another Dick Van Dyke Show veteran, died at the age of 94.