Margie Willett Cause of Death: The Tragic End of Dick Van Dyke’s First Wife

Margie Willett was an American woman who is best known for being the first wife of the legendary actor and comedian Dick Van Dyke. She married him in 1948, before he became famous, and supported him through his struggles with alcoholism and addiction. They had four children together, but their marriage ended in divorce in 1984, after Van Dyke admitted to having an affair. Willett died in 2008, at the age of 81, after battling pancreatic cancer for a year. Here is a brief overview of her life and death, and how she influenced Van Dyke’s career and personal life.

Early Life and Marriage

Margie Willett was born as Marjorie Willett in 1927 in Danville, Illinois. She met Van Dyke in her hometown in 1947, when he was a radio announcer and aspiring actor. They dated for only a month before getting engaged, and moved to Los Angeles to get married. However, they were so broke that they could not afford a wedding or a honeymoon. They agreed to tie the knot on a live radio show called “Bride and Groom”, which paid for their expenses in exchange for broadcasting their ceremony to millions of listeners. The show also sponsored their honeymoon trip to New York.

Life was not easy for the newlyweds, as they struggled to make ends meet while Van Dyke pursued his acting career. They lived in their car for a while, and faced several hardships, including a miscarriage that Willett suffered while carrying twins. Willett was not very fond of showbiz, and preferred to stay away from the limelight. She focused on raising their four children: Christian, Barry, Stacy, and Carrie Beth Van Dyke. She also supported her husband’s career, even though he was often away from home for long periods of time.

Addiction and Divorce

In the 1960s, Van Dyke became a household name with his roles in “The Dick Van Dyke Show”, “Mary Poppins”, and “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”. He also developed a drinking problem, which affected his health and his marriage. Willett also struggled with addiction to prescription drugs, which she took to cope with her loneliness and depression. In 1972, they both checked into the same hospital to receive treatment for their addictions.

However, their marriage could not survive the strain of their personal issues and Van Dyke’s infidelity. In 1974, he confessed to having an affair with his agent’s secretary, Michelle Triola Marvin, whom he later lived with for over three decades. Willett and Van Dyke separated in 1976, but did not finalize their divorce until 1984, due to legal complications. They remained on friendly terms, however, and shared custody of their children.

Death and Legacy

Willett never remarried after her divorce from Van Dyke. She lived a quiet life away from the public eye, and devoted herself to her children and grandchildren. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2007, and died in 2008. Van Dyke was heartbroken by her death, even though they had been apart for a long time. He said that she was “the best thing that ever happened” to him.

Willett is remembered as a loving mother and a supportive wife, who stood by Van Dyke’s side during his rise to fame and his fall from grace. She influenced his career choices, as he often consulted her before accepting any role. She also inspired some of his songs, such as “Put On A Happy Face” from “Bye Bye Birdie”, which he wrote for her when she was feeling down. She was also the subject of one of his books, “My Lucky Life In And Out Of Show Business”, which he dedicated to her.

Margie Willett cause of death was a tragic end to a remarkable life. She may not have been a celebrity herself, but she played an important role in the life of one of the most beloved entertainers of all time. She left behind a legacy of love and courage that will always be cherished by her family and friends.

Doms Desk

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