A man who became a broadcast legend in both radio and television, Dick Clark, has reportedly passed away. Clark became most famous for his television pop music and dance show American Bandstand, but went on to create numerous other television shows that were also hugely popular at the time. In recent years Clark had overcome a stroke that caused his speech to be affected, but he never stopped working or broadcasting.
According to news sources, Clark died today at the age of 82 thanks to a massive heart attack. No word yet on where he was found or exactly what happened. He had been in faltering health since his stroke a few years ago.
Clark was born in Mount Vernon, N.Y., in 1929. His love for broadcasting started at an early age, even before he left high school. He got a job in his teenage years working in the mailroom for radio station WRUN. The station was run by his father and uncle and, before long, they realized that the young Dick Clark had a knack for being on the air and he was soon broadcasting.
Clark went to Syracuse University and continues his love affair with broadcasting. He was a DJ on the campus station. He graduated in 1951 with a degree in business. He would soon combine his business acumen with his love of broadcasting.
Clark landed his first after-college gig as a DJ for Philadelphia radio station WFIL. He then gained tremendous fame by hosting American Bandstand, which ran during the afternoons on Philadelphia televisions across the city. It was at this point that Clarks’ fame began to grow beyond the boundaries of Philadelphia.
In just five years, American Bandstand had gone from a local Philly phenomenon to a nationwide show on ABC. The show followed a simple formula that proved hugely popular. The show featured clean-cut, average teenage couples who would dance to pop rock and roll records. The show also became famous for debuting and showcasing talent with live performances from some of rock’s biggest acts. Everyone wanted to be on Bandstand, from Elvis to Jerry Lee Lewis and more as the years went by.
In 1963 Clark moved to Hollywood and started Dick Clark Productions. He brought American Bandstand out west, as well. He began to produce other television shows, including popular game shows such as the $25,000 Pyramid and, later, TV’s Bloopers and Practical Jokes, which he hosted with Ed McMahon. He also started the American Music Awards.
Finally, Clark became famous for an annual event that he would continue through the end of his life was his New Years Eve celebration. Dick Clark’s New Years Rockin’ Eve became one of the most must-watch TV shows across the nation to welcome in the new year. In recent years, after his stroke, Clark let some of the hosting duties fall to Ryan Seacrest, but he was still there to ring in the new year.
Clark is survived by his third wife, Keri Wigton, and his three children.
Photo of Dick Clark from 1961 from Wikipedia archives.