GLEN ROSE – Jerry Van Dyke, who rose to fame as Luther Van Dam on the series Coach, passed away at his Hot Spring County ranch Friday. He was 86 years old.
He was the younger brother of legendary actor Dick Van Dyke.
Jerry Van Dyke was born in Illinois, and while living somewhat in the shadow of his older brother, became successful in his own right as an actor on the Judy Garland Show in the 1960’s. According to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas, he passed on both the role of Gilligan in Gilligan’s Island, and also as a replacement for Don Knotts when he briefly left the Andy Griffith Show in the mid-1960’s.
In 1984, he married Glen Rose native Shirley Jones, and purchased a 500-acre ranch in Hot Spring County. In the 1990’s, he purchased and revitalized an entire city block in downtown Benton which included the famed Royal Theater, and a soda shop that for many years bore his name.
His health had reportedly deteriorated following a head-on collision in 2015.