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aging goals

Dick Van Dyke is the epitome of aging goals.

If there's any Hollywood star that embodies agelessness, positivity and good old-fashioned fun, it's Dick Van Dyke. The legendary comedic actor has had a 70-year long career in film, television and stage productions and he shows no signs of stopping.

In fact, at 98-years-old, he says he'd love to take a one-man show on the road.

“Cary Grant did it,” Van Dyke told Deadline. “And Gregory Peck. Went on the road and talked about their careers. I think it’d be fun.”

The man behind the iconic dance scenes in “Mary Poppins” and “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” has always shown off his seemingly endless energy in his physical performances, but the fact that he’s still going strong at 18 months shy of 100 is genuinely impressive.

His secret? “Genuinely enjoying myself,” he said. He insists his success isn’t due to any particular ambition or drive, but rather that he sees his work as play. “I always loved what I was doing. If it had felt like work, I probably would have stopped it a long time ago, but I just loved it."

And it wasn’t that he was specifically trained for the work. He started at 17 as a radio announcer and then joined a comedy troupe, in fact, he’d never even had a dance lesson before he landed some of his most well-known roles.

“I was always pretty light footed,” Van Dyke told Entertainment Weekly. “When I auditioned for Bye Bye Birdie, [director] Gower Champion said, ‘You have the part.’ And I said, ‘Mr. Champion, I don't dance.’ He said, ‘I'll show you.’ And he did. He saw that I had the physical ability to do it, and it was like learning to fly.”

As is typical for his age, Van Dyke’s long-term memories are sharp while he forgets things like what he ate for breakfast. But his wife, Arlene, whom he’s been married to for 12 years, helps keep him going.

“She keeps me in shape, feeds me and I love her more everyday,” he told Forbes. “We’re just getting closer and closer.”

Arlene (52) also shared with Forbes how Van Dyke has made her a better person, reinforcing that his loveable, jolly demeanor is just who he is.

“I was very cynical, I think, when I first met him,” she said. “He’s such a great human being and he’s so pure in his thoughts and his heart, that it’s rubbed off on me. Just all the wholesome things of life—that’s what he has and he’s just made me a better person.”

Van Dyke doesn't see himself the way the rest of us do, as a legend and an icon. “It’s a little hard for me to get my brain around that,” he told Deadline. “I don’t see myself that way and I can’t comprehend myself as that."

However, the recent CBS television special that showcased his life and career in a variety show, "Dick Van Dyke 98 Years of Magic" made it clear that his legendary status is solidly understood. Between the joy his performances have brought to children and adults alike, the positivity he exudes on screen and off, the longevity and vitality he displays on every level, he's proven himself to be entertainment and aging goals personified.

With age comes a lot of loss, however, and Van Dyke admits there's a bit of sadness in seeing his career being showcased, as most of the people he's worked with have passed. He told Deadline that Carl Reiner's death hit him particularly hard.

"“I think I learned more from Carl Reiner than anyone else,” he said. “He understood comedy. He understood drama. He had a sense of timing like nobody else. And he was just so sharp and bright and a philosopher on top of it. He was the finest human being I ever knew.”

But regardless of age, Van Dyke has no plans to retire, ever. He just did his first soap opera spot on "Days of Our Lives," and he delights in seeing how his work—his "play"—continues to make an impact.

“I’m on my third generation now of kids who are writing to me," he told Deadline. "And I’m getting wonderful mail from their parents thanking me for providing good entertainment for their kids. They’re so kind about it. That I really appreciate. I’m so lucky.”