He was known to millions as “the world’s oldest teenager” – a man who never seemed to age…until recently when a stroke slowed him down. Today at the age of 82 Dick Clark died from a heart attack in Santa Monica.
Clark was known to generations as the man who rang in the New Year from Times Square but for over 30 years there wasn’t a popular artist who didn’t have his or her lives touched by Clark and a little program he hosted called “American Bandstand”. Clark was also the man behind the “American Music Awards”.
All of Hollywood and music world mourns the passing of the iconic Clark…
Kal Rudman publisher of “Friday Morning Quarterback said, “The passing of Dick Clark removes one of the largest foundation stones of the entire pop music industry for the latter half of the 20th century. Starting with ‘Bandstand,’ his shows absolutely made most of the hits from the beginning.”
“Dick Clark was one of our inspirations for creating the ‘Sound of Philadelphia’ music brand. More importantly, we thank him for being one of the pioneers in promoting the Philly Dance and Music scene for the nation and world to enjoy,” said Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff from the Sound of Philadelphia.
"I am deeply saddened by the loss of my dear friend Dick Clark. He has truly been one of the greatest influences in my life," said “American Idol” host and successor to Clark’s “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” hosting duties Ryan Seacrest.
Legendary entertainersaid of his friend Dick Clark via his Facebook page, “This is a sad day. He was a dear friend, supporting me and my music for all of my years in the business. A great businessman and a true gentleman. An inspiration. My heart is so heavy now.” The message was accompanied by a photo of Clark and Manilow backstage at the 2006 Emmy Awards right after Clark was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award. Clark was in tears and Manilow’s arm around him. Comforting his friend, Manilow never heard the announcement when his name was called as the winner for Outstanding Performance in a Variety or Music Special; someone pushed Manilow out on stage to receive his award.
He was born Richard Wagstaff Clark on November 30, 1929 in Mount Vernon, New York – north of New York City. Like so many citizens of the day, radio helped ease the pain of loss when Clark’s older brother Bradley was killed during World War II. Clark got his start in radio while he was still in high school.
After graduating from Syracuse University, Clark worked in a number of radio and television stations. In 1956, taking over for Bob Horn, a 26 year old Dick Clark took the job of host for a local afternoon dance show, but not the reality shows of today; a show where hits of the day were played while a group of teens got out on the dance floor and performed the popular moves of the day. In 1963, Clark took the show from a local afternoon program to a weekly national broadcast and forever coining the words, “it has a good beat and it’s easy to dance to,” whenever he asked one of the show’s participants to “Rate a Record”. In an age of segregation, Clark hated censorship; he featured the black artists with their original recordings instead of the covers performed by white artists. “American Bandstand” became an American cultural institution; the podium and stage backdrop from the show are now a part of the Smithsonian Institute. After hearing the electronic theme song for Bandstand, Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman composed a new version of the song that included lyrics.
There was a time, before cable ruled television, that Clark had a program on all three of the major networks. In 1993 Dick Clark was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Emmy Awards in 2006 and inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame.
According to the Museum of Broadcast Communicatons, Clark and his Dick Clark Productions has created over 30 television series, 250 specials and over 20 movies including 40 years of “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve”, “Academy of Country Music Awards”, “American Music Awards”, “American Dreams”, “Golden Globe Awards”,, “Daytime Emmy Awards”, “Grestest Mements”, “Family Television Awards”, “Beyond Belief: Facto or Fiction”, “The Chamber”, “Battle of the Child Geniuses: Who is the Smartest Kid in America?”, “Garth Brooks and the Magic of Christmas”, “Arista Records’ 25th Anniversary Celebration”, “Donny and Marie”, “TV Censored Bloopers”, “The Weird Al Show”, “1996 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade”, “Battle of the Bands”, “Elvis and the Colonel: The Untold Story”, “Liberace”, “Live! Dick Clark Presents”, “Alabama…My Home’s in Alabama”, “Copacabana”, “Bloopers and Practical Jokes”, “Animals are the Funniest People”, “Roberta Flack: The First Time Ever”, and numerous “American Bandstand” specials.
Along with producing numerous programs, Clark also appeared in some shows including “Spy Kids”, “The Angry Beavers”, “Adam 12”, “Perry Mason”, “Lassie”, “Ben Casey”, and his first appearance on “The Pat Boone-Chevy Showroom”.
Clark is survived by his third wife Kari Wigton and children Richard, Duane, and Cindy.