A true television legend has died. Dick Clark has passed away from a massive heart attack at the age of 82.
Known for years as the “World’s Oldest Teenager,” Clark was well-known for his roles both in front of and behind the camera as the driving force behind Dick Clark Productions.
Richard Wagstaff Clark was born in Mount Vernon, NY and worked as a teenager in the mailroom of Utica’s WRUN-AM radio station. It was owned by Clark’s uncle and run by his father. He eventually became a weatherman and a newsman at the station.
After college, Clark secured a newscasting position in Utica and later moved to Philadelphia. There, he ended up taking over for the host of Bob Horn’s Bandstand, a show that featured local teens dancing to popular music of the day. Renamed American Bandstand, the show went national in 1957. It wasn’t long before record producers were trying to get their songs played on the show, knowing that they could become hits from the exposure.
Clark moved to Los Angeles in 1963 and brought Bandstand with him. He started his own production company and began producing and hosting shows like $25,000 Pyramid and TV’s Bloopers & Practical Jokes. He also produced yearly specials like the American Music Awards and Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.
On Dec. 8, 2004, Clark was hospitalized after a “mild” stroke and missed ringing in 2005. Regis Philbin filled in and Ryan Seacrest took over the main duties after that. Clark returned to the program for the 2005-06 event and gave his wife Keri her traditional New Year’s kiss. Despite having slurred speech, Clark returned to the festivities each year.
Of his passing, Seacrest said, “He was a wonderful guy to work for, and he was a great pioneer. He gave you everything you needed to be the best for his television show”
Clark leaves a son from his first marriage, Richard Augustus II; two children from his second, Duane and Cindy; and his widow, Kari. He also leaves a long list of Emmys, Grammys, and more than 7,500 hours of television.
What do you think? How will you most remember the career of Dick Clark?
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Mar 17, 2011