Stocky comedic actor Jerry Van Dyke -- the younger brother by several years of actor Dick Van Dyke -- achieved some of the success of his older sibling, albeit with a somewhat lower profile and his own distinct persona. Time and again, Jerry specialized in portrayals of flustered, befuddled, and slightly klutzy goofballs who projected grating angst. (His typical characterizations could be contrasted with the "laid-back everyman" qualities and smoothness required by many of Dick's roles.)
Raised in Danville, IL -- a community about 130 miles south of Chicago -- Van Dyke evinced a flair for comedic buffoonery and loved to entertain audiences as early as high school, then spent several years touring the country and performing in every comedy club he could find that agreed to book him. His career only began to take off, however, following his decision to join the Air Force Special Services in 1952 (during the Korean War) -- which, in turn, provided him with the opportunity to travel around the world and entertain the troops. His act soon caught the eye of Ed Sullivan, who booked Jerry for two popular engagements on his iconic variety series, and in the mid-'60s he began appearing alongside his brother on The Dick Van Dyke Show (conveniently playing Rob Petrie's brother, Stacey Petrie).