After a career spanning more than 40 years on the tube, iconic funnyman Dick Van Dyke says it's time to walk away.
At a gala tribute Tuesday night for Dick Van Dyke Show creator Carl Reiner, who was honored with the Kennedy Center's Mark Twain prize for American humor, Van Dyke announced he'll be retiring from television at the end of this season of Diagnosis Murder.
In making his decision, the 74-year-old Van Dyke pointed to his age as well as the current state of the boob tube.
"It's time for me to go to pasture," the actor chuckled during an Associated Press Radio interview. "Tastes have changed. Television's going, as far as I'm concerned, downhill, and I'm an anachronism."
Van Dyke says he would like to exit gracefully, like Johnny Carson, one of his contemporaries who retired years ago. The two are only months apart in age.
"I'd like to follow his lead," the actor said.
Times definitely have changed since Van Dyke took TV land by storm with his landmark Dick Van Dyke Show, which ran on CBS from 1961 to 1966. Playing television writer Rob Petrie, Van Dyke hammed it up opposite on-screen wife Laura (Mary Tyler Moore) in a show that, in its heyday, was as celebrated as Seinfeld.
He also tapped his way onto the big screen playing chimney sweeper Bert opposite Julie Andrews in Disney's Mary Poppins, as well as starring as a day-dreaming inventor in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
After returning to television in the early '70s with The New Dick Van Dyke Show, the actor appeared on The Carol Burnett Show,and numerous TV movies. His current show, the AARP-friendly whodunit series Diagnosis Murder, has aired on CBS since 1993.
Van Dyke says while he may be retiring, he's certainly not ready to hit the shuffleboard and bridge circuit. Among the activities he plans to devote more time to is a newfound addiction for computer animation. "I'm the Steven Spielberg of Malibu," he cracks.