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About a year later, Van Dyke was starring in his own sitcom, in the role of TV comedy writer Rob Petrie on "The Dick Van Dyke Show." Three prime-time Emmys for Van Dyke and more than 50 years later, the series remains revered by many critics as one of the earliest models of great workplace comedy.
"'The 'Dick Van Dyke Show' was the most fun I ever had and the most creative period of my life," he said on the red carpet.
During the series' run, Van Dyke also enjoyed big-screen hits, including the 1963 "Birdie" movie and the 1964 all-star comedy, "What a Way to Go!" But biggest of all was "Mary Poppins," in which he introduced the Oscar-winning song "Chim Chim Cher-ee."
"I'm world-famous for my Cockney accent," Van Dyke kidded in his acceptance speech. He has said his British-born co-star, Julie Andrews, told him he never got the accent right.
Van Dyke also saluted the room full of actors who gave him a standing ovation.
"I'm looking at the greatest generation of actors in the history of acting. You've all lifted the art to another place now," he said. "Besides that you're everywhere. You're in Darfur, Somalia, Haiti. You're all over the place trying to do what's right.
"This very heavy object here means that I can refer to you as my peers. I'm a happy man, God bless."
Last year, Van Dyke presented the same lifetime achievement honor to his former TV co-star, Mary Tyler Moore.
These days, Van Dyke sings with his vocal group, The Vantasix, and enjoys life with his wife of one year, makeup artist Arlene Silver. The couple met seven years ago at the SAG Awards.
"They tell me you never work again once you get this award," Van Dyke said on the red carpet. "I'll have to let them know I'm available."