Comedy legend DICK VAN DYKE developed such a terrible booze problem that he couldn’t wait to leave the set of his classic sitcom each day to rush home and get drunk.

The 85-year-old star makes the shocking confession in his block­buster new memoir “My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business.”

The rubber-faced funnyman – who played Mary Tyler Moore’s husband on “The Dick Van Dyke Show” from 1961 to 1966 – reveals his alcoholism started in the late 1950s at neighborhood parties ev­ery Saturday night in Massapequa, N.Y.

“I found a martini or two, and eventually three or four, got me past my shyness and helped me have a good time,” he writes.

While he didn’t drink during shooting of his show, he watched the clock, waiting for 5 o’clock when he could get home and pour himself one glass after another of bourbon.

His boozing got “to the point where I’d run a race with (my wife) Margie each night to see if I could get drunk before she could get dinner on the table!”

In August 1972, he checked into St. Luke’s Medical Center in Phoenix and was treated in a ward with hard-core addicts. After three weeks of treatment, Dick was sober for the first time in 15 years.

But then he got a shock when his wife came to the hospital to visit him on his last day – and stayed to get treatment for her own addiction to the tranquilizer Librium.

ALL the details are in the new ENQUIRER!