Mary Poppins star feared death after apparently falling asleep on his surfboard but friendly sea creatures pushed him to shore.
Porpoise driven … Dick Van Dyke and a porpoise. Please note: this is not a reportage image. Photographs: Fred Prouser/Reuters and Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images
On screen, Dick Van Dyke has been rescued from untimely death by flying cars and magical nannies. Off screen, the veteran star of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Mary Poppins had to rely on the help of a pod of porpoises after apparently dozing off aboard his surfboard. “I’m not kidding,” he said afterwards.
Van Dyke’s ordeal began during an ill-fated trip to his local beach. “I woke up out of sight of land,” the 84-year-old actor told reporters. “I started paddling with the swells and I started seeing fins swimming around me and I thought ‘I’m dead!'”
Van Dyke was wrong. “They turned out to be porpoises,” he said. “And they pushed me all the way to shore.” The porpoises were unavailable for comment.