Dick Clark, host of “American Bandstand” and “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” dies

Dick Clark, host of “American Bandstand” and “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” dies


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On April 18, 2012, Dick Clark, the TV personality and producer best known for hosting “American Bandstand,” an influential music-and-dance show that aired nationally from 1957 to 1989 and helped bring rock `n’ roll into the mainstream in the late 1950s, dies of a heart attack at age 82 in Santa Monica, California. The clean-cut, youthful-looking Clark, dubbed “America’s Oldest Teenager,” also was the longtime host of the annual telecast “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” and headed an entertainment empire that developed game shows, awards shows, talk shows, made-for-TV movies and other programs.

Richard Wagstaff Clark was born on November 30, 1929, and raised in Mount Vernon, New York. His father was a salesman who later managed a radio station. Clark graduated from Syracuse University in 1951 and moved to Philadelphia the following year to work as a radio disc jockey. In 1956, he became the host of a local, teen-oriented TV show called “Bandstand” (launched in 1952) after the original host was fired.

In 1957, “American Bandstand,” as it was renamed, began airing nationwide. The program, which showcased ordinary teenagers dancing to records and musical acts introduced by Clark, quickly became a hit with millions of young viewers, who tuned in for the latest music, fashions and dance crazes. Clark helped end the then-standard practice of having white singers cover the songs of black artists on TV, and a number of African-American performers, including Chuck Berry and Chubby Checker, made their national TV debut on “American Bandstand.”

In 1960, amidst the show’s success, Clark was called to testify before a congressional subcommittee investigating the practice of payola, in which record companies bribed disc jockeys in order to get airplay for records. At the hearings, Clark testified to holding an ownership stake in more than 30 different record labels, distributors and manufacturers, and featuring the acts from those labels on “American Bandstand.” He denied doing anything illegal and was never charged with a crime. However, prior to the hearings, ABC, which broadcast “American Bandstand,” directed Clark to divest himself of all his music-related businesses, a move said to cost him millions of dollars.

The music impresario furthered his place in pop culture as the host and producer of “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” a TV special that debuted in 1974 and included musical performances and live coverage of the ball drop from New York City’s Times Square. Clark helmed the telecast every year until December 31, 2004, having suffered a stroke earlier that month. Though the stroke left him speech-impaired, he returned to the countdown special the following year, with Ryan Seacrest as co-host, and continued to make annual appearances through 2011.


Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve: Ringing In The New Year Since '73

For millions of people without plans and traditionalists alike, Dick Clark’s New Year's Rockin' Eve has been a holiday tradition since 1973. Even before then, Dick Clark was holding court for the young folks on American Bandstand, but the highlight of his year since the early '70s came on New Year's Eve.

Clark’s New Year’s Eve show brought a semblance of normalcy to a crazy night. The show featured various talking heads, musical performances, and the ball drop in Times Square that everyone loves. Even after Clark passed away in 2012 the show continued on without him, What began as a way to draw some eyes from another show on New Year’s Eve ended up turning into an annual tradition that shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.


&aposAmerican Bandstand&apos

WFIL had an affiliated television station (now WPVI) which began broadcasting a show called Bob Horn&aposs Bandstand in 1952. Clark was a regular substitute host on the popular afternoon program, which had teenagers dancing to popular music. When Horn left the show, Clark became the full-time host on July 9, 1956.

Largely through Clark&aposs initiative, Bandstand was picked up by ABC as American Bandstand for nationwide distribution, beginning on August 5, 1957. The program&aposs mix of lip-synched performances, interviews, and its famous "Rate-a-Record" segment captivated teenagers. Overnight, Clark became one of pop music&aposs most important tastemakers. His exposure on American Bandstand, and his prime-time program, The Dick Clark Show, generated countless hits.

Clark required a formal dress code of dresses or skirts for girls and coats and ties for boys that helped establish the show&aposs wholesome appearance. The move was an early indication of Clark&aposs innate ability to read the public&aposs mindset, and mute potential criticism. When African Americans were introduced among the white teenage dancers in a groundbreaking move of integration on national television, Clark was able to use his influence to stifle divisive talk amongst viewers.


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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Dick Clark, the ever-youthful television host and tireless entrepreneur who helped bring rock 'n' roll into the mainstream on "American Bandstand," and later produced and hosted a vast range of programming from game shows to the year-end countdown from Times Square on "New Year's Rockin' Eve," has died. He was 82.

Spokesman Paul Shefrin said Clark had a heart attack Wednesday morning at Saint John's hospital in Santa Monica, where he had gone the day before for an outpatient procedure.

Clark had continued performing even after he suffered a stroke in 2004 that affected his ability to speak and walk.

Long dubbed "the world's oldest teenager" because of his boyish appearance, Clark bridged the rebellious new music scene and traditional show business, and equally comfortable whether chatting about music with Sam Cooke or bantering with Ed McMahon about TV bloopers. He thrived as the founder of Dick Clark Productions, supplying movies, game and music shows, beauty contests and more to TV. Among his credits: "The $25,000 Pyramid," ''TV's Bloopers and Practical Jokes" and the American Music Awards.

For a time in the 1980s, he had shows on all three networks and was listed among the Forbes 400 of wealthiest Americans. Clark also was part of radio as partner in the United Stations Radio Network, which provided programs — including Clark's — to thousands of stations.

"There's hardly any segment of the population that doesn't see what I do," Clark told The Associated Press in a 1985 interview. "It can be embarrassing. People come up to me and say, 'I love your show,' and I have no idea which one they're talking about."

The original "American Bandstand" was one of network TV's longest-running series as part of ABC's daytime lineup from 1957 to 1987. It later aired for a year in syndication and briefly on the USA Network. Over the years, it introduced stars ranging from Buddy Holly to Madonna. The show's status as an American cultural institution was solidified when Clark donated Bandstand's original podium and backdrop to the Smithsonian Institution.

Clark joined "Bandstand" in 1956 after Bob Horn, who'd been the host since its 1952 debut, was fired. Under Clark's guidance, it went from a local Philadelphia show to a national phenomenon.

"I played records, the kids danced, and America watched," was how Clark once described the series' simplicity. In his 1958 hit "Sweet Little Sixteen," Chuck Berry sang that "they'll be rocking on Bandstand, Philadelphia, P-A."

As a host, he had the smooth delivery of a seasoned radio announcer. As a producer, he had an ear for a hit record. He also knew how to make wary adults welcome this odd new breed of music in their homes.

Clark endured accusations that he was in with the squares, with critic Lester Bangs defining Bandstand as "a leggily acceptable euphemism of the teenage experience." In a 1985 interview, Clark acknowledged the complaints. "But I knew at the time that if we didn't make the presentation to the older generation palatable, it could kill it."

"So along with Little Richard and Chuck Berry and the Platters and the Crows and the Jayhawks . the boys wore coats and ties and the girls combed their hair and they all looked like sweet little kids into a high school dance," he said.

But Clark defended pop artists and artistic freedom, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame said in an online biography of the 1993 inductee. He helped give black artists their due by playing original R&B recordings instead of cover versions by white performers, and he condemned censorship.

His stroke in December 2004 forced him to miss his annual appearance on "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve." He returned the following year and, although his speech at times was difficult to understand, many praised his bravery, including other stroke victims.

Still speaking with difficulty, he continued taking part in his New Year's shows, though in a diminished role. Ryan Seacrest became the main host.

"I'm just thankful I'm still able to enjoy this once-a-year treat," he told The Associated Press by e-mail in December 2008 as another New Year's Eve approached.

He was honored at the Emmy Awards in 2006, telling the crowd: "I have accomplished my childhood dream, to be in show business. Everybody should be so lucky to have their dreams come true. I've been truly blessed."

He was born Richard Wagstaff Clark in Mount Vernon, N.Y., in 1929. His father, Richard Augustus Clark, was a sales manager who worked in radio.

Clark idolized his athletic older brother, Bradley, who was killed in World War II. In his 1976 autobiography, "Rock, Roll & Remember," Clark recalled how radio helped ease his loneliness and turned him into a fan of Steve Allen, Arthur Godfrey and other popular hosts.

From Godfrey, he said, he learned that "a radio announcer does not talk to 'those of you out there in radio land' a radio announcer talks to me as an individual."

Clark began his career in the mailroom of a Utica, N.Y., radio station in 1945. By age 26, he was a broadcasting veteran, with nine years' experience on radio and TV stations in Syracuse and Utica, N.Y., and Philadelphia. He held a bachelor's degree from Syracuse University. While in Philadelphia, Clark befriended McMahon, who later credited Clark for introducing him to his future "Tonight Show" boss, Johnny Carson.

In the 1960s, "American Bandstand" moved from black-and-white to color, from weekday broadcasts to once-a-week Saturday shows and from Philadelphia to Los Angeles. Although its influence started to ebb, it still featured some of the biggest stars of each decade, whether Janis Joplin, the Jackson 5, Talking Heads or Prince. But Clark never did book two of rock's iconic groups, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Elvis Presley also never performed, although Clark managed an on-air telephone interview while Presley was in the Army.

When Michael Jackson died in June 2009, Clark recalled working with him since he was a child, adding, "of all the thousands of entertainers I have worked with, Michael was THE most outstanding. Many have tried and will try to copy him, but his talent will never be matched."

Clark kept more than records spinning with his Dick Clark Productions. Its credits included the Academy of Country Music and Golden Globe awards TV movies including the Emmy-winning "The Woman Who Willed a Miracle" (1984), the "$25,000 Pyramid" game show and the 1985 film "Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins." Clark himself made a cameo on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" and a dramatic appearance as a witness on the original "Perry Mason." He was an involuntary part of Michael Moore's Academy Award-winning "Bowling for Columbine," in which Clark is seen brushing off Moore as the filmmaker confronts him about working conditions at a restaurant owned by Clark.

In 1974, at ABC's request, Clark created the American Music Awards after the network lost the broadcast rights to the Grammy Awards.

He was also an author, with "Dick Clark's American Bandstand" and such self-help books as "Dick Clark's Program for Success in Your Business and Personal Life" and "Looking Great, Staying Young." His unchanging looks inspired a joke in "Peggy Sue Gets Married," the 1986 comedy starring Kathleen Turner as an unhappy wife and mother transported back to 1960. Watching Clark on a black and white TV set, she shakes her head in amazement, "Look at that man, he never ages."

Clark's clean-cut image survived a music industry scandal. In 1960, during a congressional investigation of "payola" or bribery in the record and radio industry, Clark was called on to testify.

He was cleared of any suspicions but was required by ABC to divest himself of record-company interests to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest. The demand cost him $8 million, Clark once estimated. His holdings included partial ownership of Swan Records, which later released the first U.S. version of the Beatles' smash "She Loves You."

In 2004, Clark announced plans for a revamped version of "American Bandstand." The show, produced with "American Idol" creator Simon Fuller, was to feature a host other than Clark.

He was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 1994 and served as spokesman for the American Association of Diabetes Educators.

Clark, twice divorced, had a son, Richard Augustus II, with first wife Barbara Mallery and two children, Duane and Cindy, with second wife Loretta Martin. He married Kari Wigton in 1977.


31 DECEMBER

2018 Ray Sawyer of Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show dies at 81.

2017 Rabbi Shmuley Boteach places an ad in the Washington Post claiming that Lorde is an anti-Semite because she cancelled a concert in Israel in protest over the treatment of Palestinians.

2017 Britney Spears wraps up her Vegas show Britney: Piece of Me, after four years. It's her last concert for a while a subsequent residency is cancelled, and she refuses to perform under the terms of her conservatorship, which has been controlled by her father since 2008.

2014 Six months after divorcing salsa singer Marc Anthony, Jennifer Lopez officially drops her married name (Muñiz).

2009 Blues singer Earl Gaines dies at age 74, after his declining health forces him to cancel a European tour.

2008 At halftime of the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas, 40,148 fans perform the "Y.M.C.A." dance while the Village People perform, establishing a Guinness World Record. It is the most memorable part of the game, which Oregon State wins 3-0 over Pittsburgh.

2002 Phish jump back in the pond with a concert at Madison Square Garden, their first show since going on hiatus in October 2000.

2000 Black Crowes frontman Chris Robinson marries actress Kate Hudson in Aspen, Colorado. Their seven-year marriage includes the birth of their son, Ryder.

1997 Floyd Cramer, pianist and forerunner of the "Nashville sound," dies of lung cancer at age 64. He played piano as a session musician on Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel."

1996 Queen Elizabeth II announces that Paul McCartney will be knighted - these announcements are traditionally made on New Year's Eve.

1991 After 62 years, Radio Luxembourg, Europe's oldest commercial radio station, goes off the air for good.

1991 Ted Nugent, who often donates meat from his kills to charity, serves about 200 pounds of venison courtesy of the Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger program at a Detroit soup kitchen, telling clients, "I kill it, you grill it."

1985 Rick Nelson dies in a plane crash at age 45. A child star on The Ozzie and Harriet Show, he became a teen idol as a singer, charting 36 hits on the Top 40.

1982 E Street Band guitarist Miami Steve and/or Little Steven Van Zandt marries Maureen Santora at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Little Richard officiates, Bruce Springsteen is the best man, and Percy Sledge sings "When A Man Loves A Woman" during the reception.

1980 At the Whisky A Go Go in Hollywood, bass player Kathy Valentine plays her first show with The Go-Go's, establishing the lineup that in 1982 becomes the first all-girl band to land a #1 album in America.


Dick Clark remembered as 'American Bandstand' host, TV & radio impresario

Dick Clark, the longtime host of ABC's 'American Bandstand,' TV game shows, and radio programs, died Wednesday near Los Angeles.

Dick Clark, the ever-youthful television host and tireless entrepreneur who helped bring rock 'n' roll into the mainstream on "American Bandstand," and later produced and hosted a vast range of programming from game shows to the year-end countdown from Times Square on "New Year's Rockin' Eve," died Wednesday at a Los Angeles-area hospital, according to a spokesman.

Long dubbed "the world's oldest teenager" because of his boyish appearance, Clark bridged the rebellious new music scene and traditional show business, and equally comfortable whether chatting about music with Sam Cooke or bantering with Ed McMahon about TV bloopers. He thrived as the founder of Dick Clark Productions, supplying movies, game and music shows, beauty contests and more to TV. Among his credits: "The $25,000 Pyramid," ''TV's Bloopers and Practical Jokes" and the American Music Awards.

For a time in the 1980s, he had shows on all three networks and was listed among the Forbes 400 of wealthiest Americans. Clark also was part of radio as partner in the United Stations Radio Network, which provided programs — including Clark's — to thousands of stations.

"There's hardly any segment of the population that doesn't see what I do," Clark told The Associated Press in a 1985 interview. "It can be embarrassing. People come up to me and say, 'I love your show,' and I have no idea which one they're talking about."

The original "American Bandstand" was one of network TV's longest-running series as part of ABC's daytime lineup from 1957 to 1987. It later aired for a year in syndication and briefly on the USA Network. Over the years, it introduced stars ranging from Buddy Holly to Madonna. The show's status as an American cultural institution was solidified when Clark donated Bandstand's original podium and backdrop to the Smithsonian Institution.

As Kamala Harris’ portfolio grows, so does the scrutiny

Clark joined "Bandstand" in 1956 after Bob Horn, who'd been the host since its 1952 debut, was fired. Under Clark's guidance, it went from a local Philadelphia show to a national phenomenon.

"I played records, the kids danced, and America watched," was how Clark once described the series' simplicity. In his 1958 hit "Sweet Little Sixteen," Chuck Berry sang that "they'll be rocking on Bandstand, Philadelphia, P-A."

As a host, he had the smooth delivery of a seasoned radio announcer. As a producer, he had an ear for a hit record. He also knew how to make wary adults welcome this odd new breed of music in their homes.

Clark endured accusations that he was in with the squares, with critic Lester Bangs defining Bandstand as "a leggily acceptable euphemism of the teenage experience." In a 1985 interview, Clark acknowledged the complaints. "But I knew at the time that if we didn't make the presentation to the older generation palatable, it could kill it."

"So along with Little Richard and Chuck Berry and the Platters and the Crows and the Jayhawks . the boys wore coats and ties and the girls combed their hair and they all looked like sweet little kids into a high school dance," he said.

But Clark defended pop artists and artistic freedom, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame said in an online biography of the 1993 inductee. He helped give black artists their due by playing original R&B recordings instead of cover versions by white performers, and he condemned censorship.

His stroke in December 2004 forced him to miss his annual appearance on "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve." He returned the following year and, although his speech at times was difficult to understand, many praised his bravery, including other stroke victims.

Still speaking with difficulty, he continued taking part in his New Year's shows, though in a diminished role. Ryan Seacrest became the main host.

"I'm just thankful I'm still able to enjoy this once-a-year treat," he told The Associated Press by e-mail in December 2008 as another New Year's Eve approached.

He was honored at the Emmy Awards in 2006, telling the crowd: "I have accomplished my childhood dream, to be in show business. Everybody should be so lucky to have their dreams come true. I've been truly blessed."

He was born Richard Wagstaff Clark in Mount Vernon, N.Y., in 1929. His father, Richard Augustus Clark, was a sales manager who worked in radio.

Clark idolized his athletic older brother, Bradley, who was killed in World War II. In his 1976 autobiography, "Rock, Roll & Remember," Clark recalled how radio helped ease his loneliness and turned him into a fan of Steve Allen, Arthur Godfrey and other popular hosts.

From Godfrey, he said, he learned that "a radio announcer does not talk to 'those of you out there in radio land' a radio announcer talks to me as an individual."

Clark began his career in the mailroom of a Utica, N.Y., radio station in 1945. By age 26, he was a broadcasting veteran, with nine years' experience on radio and TV stations in Syracuse and Utica, N.Y., and Philadelphia. He held a bachelor's degree from Syracuse University. While in Philadelphia, Clark befriended McMahon, who later credited Clark for introducing him to his future "Tonight Show" boss, Johnny Carson.

In the 1960s, "American Bandstand" moved from black-and-white to color, from weekday broadcasts to once-a-week Saturday shows and from Philadelphia to Los Angeles. Although its influence started to ebb, it still featured some of the biggest stars of each decade, whether Janis Joplin, the Jackson 5, Talking Heads or Prince. But Clark never did book two of rock's iconic groups, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Elvis Presley also never performed, although Clark managed an on-air telephone interview while Presley was in the Army.

When Michael Jackson died in June 2009, Clark recalled working with him since he was a child, adding, "of all the thousands of entertainers I have worked with, Michael was THE most outstanding. Many have tried and will try to copy him, but his talent will never be matched."

Clark kept more than records spinning with his Dick Clark Productions. Its credits included the Academy of Country Music and Golden Globe awards TV movies including the Emmy-winning "The Woman Who Willed a Miracle" (1984), the "$25,000 Pyramid" game show and the 1985 film "Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins." Clark himself made a cameo on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" and a dramatic appearance as a witness on the original "Perry Mason." He was an involuntary part of Michael Moore's Academy Award-winning "Bowling for Columbine," in which Clark is seen brushing off Moore as the filmmaker confronts him about working conditions at a restaurant owned by Clark.

In 1974, at ABC's request, Clark created the American Music Awards after the network lost the broadcast rights to the Grammy Awards.

He was also an author, with "Dick Clark's American Bandstand" and such self-help books as "Dick Clark's Program for Success in Your Business and Personal Life" and "Looking Great, Staying Young." His unchanging looks inspired a joke in "Peggy Sue Gets Married," the 1986 comedy starring Kathleen Turner as an unhappy wife and mother transported back to 1960. Watching Clark on a black and white TV set, she shakes her head in amazement, "Look at that man, he never ages."

Clark's clean-cut image survived a music industry scandal. In 1960, during a congressional investigation of "payola" or bribery in the record and radio industry, Clark was called on to testify.

He was cleared of any suspicions but was required by ABC to divest himself of record-company interests to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest. The demand cost him $8 million, Clark once estimated. His holdings included partial ownership of Swan Records, which later released the first U.S. version of the Beatles' smash "She Loves You."

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In 2004, Clark announced plans for a revamped version of "American Bandstand." The show, produced with "American Idol" creator Simon Fuller, was to feature a host other than Clark.

Clark, twice divorced, had a son, Richard Augustus II, with first wife Barbara Mallery and two children, Duane and Cindy, with second wife Loretta Martin. He married Kari Wigton in 1977.


Dick Clark built show business empire with ‘Bandstand,’ ‘New Year’s Rockin’ Eve’

Younger fans knew Dick Clark from his work on the annual “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve’’ broadcast. (donna svennevik/abc)

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Dick Clark, whose unwrinkled longevity as host of “American Bandstand’’ earned him the nickname “America’s Oldest Living Teenager’’ and whose shrewd business sense earned him millions as an entertainment mogul, died Wednesday at a hospital in Santa Monica, Calif. He was 82.

Paul Shefrin, Mr. Clark’s agent, said the cause of death was “a massive heart attack.’’

There was much more to Mr. Clark’s success than “Bandstand.’’ He became a minor show business institution, at once pervasive and ephemeral: hosting game shows and the annual “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve’’ broadcast, producing films and television series, appearing in commercials, and promoting concerts. NBC executive Brandon Tartikoff once hailed him as “the McDonald’s of television.’’

“I was an entrepreneur,’’ Mr. Clark said in a 1992 interview on the Nashville Network. “I used every single opportunity I could to make money. I managed artists. I pressed records. I did tours, I owned labels. I did everything I could think of to turn a dollar.’’

Although a stroke in 2004 slowed Mr. Clark, he eventually returned to the New Year’s Eve broadcast, solidifying his reputation as the rock era’s Guy Lombardo. Ryan Seacrest, Mr. Clark’s younger counterpart in many ways, handled most of the hosting duties, with Mr. Clark taking care of the year-end countdown.

“I idolized him from the start, and I was graced early on in my career with his generous advice and counsel,’’ Seacrest said in a statement Wednesday. “He was a remarkable host and businessman and left a rich legacy to television audiences around the world. We will all miss him.’’

Mr. Clark is the only person to have shows simultaneously running on three networks. In 1984, he hosted “Bloopers, Commercials, and Practical Jokes’’ on NBC, “The New $25,000 Pyramid’’ on CBS, and “Bandstand’’ on ABC.

“Bandstand’’ was Mr. Clark’s special claim to fame. At the beginning of rock ’n’ roll, when the idea of something like MTV was unimaginable, there was “American Bandstand.’’ Mr. Clark hosted the show from 1956 to 1989. Chuck Berry paid tribute to the show in “Sweet Little Sixteen’’: “Cause they’ll be rockin’ on ‘Bandstand’/In Philadelphia, P.A.’’ (the show originally broadcast from there).

Teenagers danced while singers lip-synched their latest release. Between songs, Mr. Clark interviewed members of the studio audience, who rated the records.

The format was simple, the impact great. If Elvis Presley appearing on the Steve Allen and Ed Sullivan shows was the great beachhead in the rock ’n’ roll invasion, it was “Bandstand’’ that helped secure the conquest of young America’s ears. Five afternoons a week rock ’n’ roll was there for the listening under the aegis of Mr. Clark. Eventually, the show cut back to one broadcast a week, on Saturdays.

Mr. Clark served as middle man between middle America and rock ’n’ roll. His clean-cut amiability provided cover for a music that many adults considered unsavory or even subversive. Mr. Clark’s well-scrubbed image was � percent deliberate and well thought out,’’ he said in 1990 interview with Rolling Stone magazine. Never hip, never cutting edge, he was safe and reassuring - and, as such, indispensable. He was inducted into the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame in 1993.

Of course, Mr. Clark’s advocacy owed more to profits than proselytizing. He was first and foremost a businessman. “I don’t make culture,’’ he liked to say, “I sell it.’’ Not that good artistic sense can’t also be good business sense: Among performers who made their national television debut on “American Bandstand’’ were Berry, James Brown, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Jackie Wilson, Ike and Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Talking Heads, and Madonna.

In 1960, Mr. Clark’s profit-seeking nearly ended his career. He was called to testify before a congressional committee investigating the payola scandal, which involved record companies paying radio announcers to play their songs.

It was revealed that Mr. Clark partly owned two record companies, an artists management firm, and two music publishers. Mr. Clark conceded that he had a financial interest in 27 percent of the records performed on “Bandstand’’ over a 28-month period, but he denied having ever taking payments in return for playing records.

Mr. Clark’s squeaky-clean image was smudged, but that was all. He sold his music-related holdings, at ABC’s behest, and took up where he had left off. Continuing to host “Bandstand,’’ he began to pursue opportunities in film and television production. He even acted in several films, including “The Young Doctors’’ (1961) and “The Savage Seven’’ (1968).

Richard Wagstaff Clark was born in Bronxville, N.Y., the son of Richard A. Clark and Julia (Barnard) Clark. Mr. Clark’s father worked as a middle manager in a cosmetics firm. Later, he would become a radio executive in Utica, N.Y. - a job switch that would benefit his son.

Mr. Clark’s high school classmates voted him “Man Most Likely to Sell the Brooklyn Bridge.’’ After graduating from Syracuse University in 1951, he went to work as a summer-replacement announcer at his father’s radio station. He soon shifted to the city’s one television station, then got an announcing job at Philadelphia radio station WFIL.

That it was that station, and in that city, proved crucial. WFIL also had a television outlet, which shortly after Mr. Clark’s arrival began broadcasting an afternoon show called “Bandstand.’’ When that show’s host was fired, in 1956, Mr. Clark got the job.

Phil Spector, the legendary rock producer, once described Philadelphia during that time as “the most insane, most dynamic, the most beautiful city in the history of rock ’n’ roll.’’ Proponents of Memphis or Liverpool might disagree. Even so, Philadelphia provided an almost-perfect setting for a show like “Bandstand.’’ Its population was large enough to generate significant new musical trends, and its predominant ethnic groups, Italians and African-Americans, made it likely that many of those trends - such as doo-wop and R&B - would prove popular. Its proximity to the nation’s media capital, New York, made it easily available to touring national acts.

In his memoirs, “Rock, Roll & Remember,’’ Mr. Clark said he had “only a foggy notion of what the kids, music, and show were really about’’ when he became the host of “Bandstand.’’ Mr. Clark caught on soon enough, and within a year the show was being broadcast nationally as “American Bandstand.’’ Mr. Clark wasn’t the only one who needed to catch on. When the show was first proposed to ABC, an executive said, “I hesitate to put on this show because it’s just kids dancing!’’

In 1964, Mr. Clark moved “Bandstand’’ to Los Angeles and formed Dick Clark Productions.

The 󈨀s were hard on the show. Mr. Clark’s being so squarely in the mainstream ceased to be an asset. When the Doors appeared on “Bandstand’’ (their network debut), Mr. Clark wanted Jim Morrison to wear a tie.

The rise of disco, with its emphasis on dancing, gave “Bandstand’’ a boost in the 󈨊s. It also inspired the show’s most successful imitator, “Soul Train.’’

“We’ve always realized that we were doing ‘American Bandstand,’ ’’ Don Cornelius, the show’s creator and longtime host who died in February, told The New York Times in 1995.

That year, Mr. Clark gave his original “Bandstand’’ podium to the Smithsonian Institution. The original “Bandstand’’ studio, in Philadelphia, had been placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.

Mr. Clark leaves his wife, Kari (Wigton) Clark a son from his first marriage, Richard and a son, Duane, and daughter, Cindy, from his second marriage.


ɺmerican Bandstand' host Dick Clark has died

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Dick Clark, the ever-youthful television host and tireless entrepreneur who helped bring rock 'n' roll into the mainstream on "American Bandstand," and later produced and hosted a vast range of programming from game shows to the year-end countdown from Times Square on "New Year's Rockin' Eve," has died. He was 82.

Spokesman Paul Shefrin said Clark had a heart attack Wednesday morning at Saint John's hospital in Santa Monica, a day after he was admitted for an outpatient procedure.

Clark had continued performing even after he suffered a stroke in 2004 that affected his ability to speak and walk.

Long dubbed "the world's oldest teenager" because of his boyish appearance, Clark bridged the rebellious new music scene and traditional show business, and equally comfortable whether chatting about music with Sam Cooke or bantering with Ed McMahon about TV bloopers. He thrived as the founder of Dick Clark Productions, supplying movies, game and music shows, beauty contests and more to TV. Among his credits: "The $25,000 Pyramid," ''TV's Bloopers and Practical Jokes" and the American Music Awards.

For a time in the 1980s, he had shows on all three networks and was listed among the Forbes 400 of wealthiest Americans. Clark also was part of radio as partner in the United Stations Radio Network, which provided programs — including Clark's — to thousands of stations.

"There's hardly any segment of the population that doesn't see what I do," Clark told The Associated Press in a 1985 interview. "It can be embarrassing. People come up to me and say, 'I love your show,' and I have no idea which one they're talking about."

The original "American Bandstand" was one of network TV's longest-running series as part of ABC's daytime lineup from 1957 to 1987. It later aired for a year in syndication and briefly on the USA Network. Over the years, it introduced stars ranging from Buddy Holly to Madonna. The show's status as an American cultural institution was solidified when Clark donated Bandstand's original podium and backdrop to the Smithsonian Institution.

Clark joined "Bandstand" in 1956 after Bob Horn, whoɽ been the host since its 1952 debut, was fired. Under Clark's guidance, it went from a local Philadelphia show to a national phenomenon.

"I played records, the kids danced, and America watched," was how Clark once described the series' simplicity. In his 1958 hit "Sweet Little Sixteen," Chuck Berry sang that "they'll be rocking on Bandstand, Philadelphia, P-A."

As a host, he had the smooth delivery of a seasoned radio announcer. As a producer, he had an ear for a hit record. He also knew how to make wary adults welcome this odd new breed of music in their homes.

Clark endured accusations that he was in with the squares, with critic Lester Bangs defining Bandstand as "a leggily acceptable euphemism of the teenage experience." In a 1985 interview, Clark acknowledged the complaints. "But I knew at the time that if we didn't make the presentation to the older generation palatable, it could kill it."

"So along with Little Richard and Chuck Berry and the Platters and the Crows and the Jayhawks . the boys wore coats and ties and the girls combed their hair and they all looked like sweet little kids into a high school dance," he said.

But Clark defended pop artists and artistic freedom, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame said in an online biography of the 1993 inductee. He helped give black artists their due by playing original R&B recordings instead of cover versions by white performers, and he condemned censorship.

His stroke in December 2004 forced him to miss his annual appearance on "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve." He returned the following year and, although his speech at times was difficult to understand, many praised his bravery, including other stroke victims.

Still speaking with difficulty, he continued taking part in his New Year's shows, though in a diminished role. Ryan Seacrest became the main host.

"I'm just thankful I'm still able to enjoy this once-a-year treat," he told The Associated Press by email in December 2008 as another New Year's Eve approached.

He was honored at the Emmy Awards in 2006, telling the crowd: "I have accomplished my childhood dream, to be in show business. Everybody should be so lucky to have their dreams come true. I've been truly blessed."

He was born Richard Wagstaff Clark in Mount Vernon, N.Y., in 1929. His father, Richard Augustus Clark, was a sales manager who worked in radio.

Clark idolized his athletic older brother, Bradley, who was killed in World War II. In his 1976 autobiography, "Rock, Roll & Remember," Clark recalled how radio helped ease his loneliness and turned him into a fan of Steve Allen, Arthur Godfrey and other popular hosts.

From Godfrey, he said, he learned that "a radio announcer does not talk to 'those of you out there in radio land' a radio announcer talks to me as an individual."

Clark began his career in the mailroom of a Utica, N.Y., radio station in 1945. By age 26, he was a broadcasting veteran, with nine years' experience on radio and TV stations in Syracuse and Utica, N.Y., and Philadelphia. He held a bachelor's degree from Syracuse University. While in Philadelphia, Clark befriended McMahon, who later credited Clark for introducing him to his future "Tonight Show" boss, Johnny Carson.

In the 1960s, "American Bandstand" moved from black-and-white to color, from weekday broadcasts to once-a-week Saturday shows and from Philadelphia to Los Angeles. Although its influence started to ebb, it still featured some of the biggest stars of each decade, whether Janis Joplin, the Jackson 5, Talking Heads or Prince. But Clark never did book two of rock's iconic groups, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Elvis Presley also never performed, although Clark managed an on-air telephone interview while Presley was in the Army.

When Michael Jackson died in June 2009, Clark recalled working with him since he was a child, adding, "of all the thousands of entertainers I have worked with, Michael was THE most outstanding. Many have tried and will try to copy him, but his talent will never be matched."

Clark kept more than records spinning with his Dick Clark Productions. Its credits included the Academy of Country Music and Golden Globe awards TV movies including the Emmy-winning "The Woman Who Willed a Miracle" (1984), the "$25,000 Pyramid" game show and the 1985 film "Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins." Clark himself made a cameo on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" and a dramatic appearance as a witness on the original "Perry Mason." He was an involuntary part of Michael Moore's Academy Award -winning "Bowling for Columbine," in which Clark is seen brushing off Moore as the filmmaker confronts him about working conditions at a restaurant owned by Clark.

In 1974, at ABC's request, Clark created the American Music Awards after the network lost the broadcast rights to the Grammy Awards.

He was also an author, with "Dick Clark's American Bandstand" and such self-help books as "Dick Clark's Program for Success in Your Business and Personal Life" and "Looking Great, Staying Young." His unchanging looks inspired a joke in "Peggy Sue Gets Married," the 1986 comedy starring Kathleen Turner as an unhappy wife and mother transported back to 1960. Watching Clark on a black and white TV set, she shakes her head in amazement, "Look at that man, he never ages."

Clark's clean-cut image survived a music industry scandal. In 1960, during a congressional investigation of "payola" or bribery in the record and radio industry, Clark was called on to testify.

He was cleared of any suspicions but was required by ABC to divest himself of record company interests to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest. The demand cost him $8 million, Clark once estimated. His holdings included partial ownership of Swan Records, which later released the first U.S. version of the Beatles' smash "She Loves You."

In 2004, Clark announced plans for a revamped version of "American Bandstand." The show, produced with "American Idol" creator Simon Fuller, was to feature a host other than Clark.

He was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 1994 and served as spokesman for the American Association of Diabetes Educators.

Clark, twice divorced, had a son, Richard Augustus II, with first wife Barbara Mallery and two children, Duane and Cindy, with second wife Loretta Martin. He married Kari Wigton in 1977.


Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Years Eve: 5 Memorable Moments From The Show’s History (Video)

The 82-year-old broadcast legend suffered a massive heart attack on Wednesday.

THR staff

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For 40 years, veteran broadcaster Dick Clark has helped Americans rock into the New Year with his annual New Year&rsquos Rockin&rsquo Eve.

Clark died on Wednesday at the age of 82 after suffering a massive heart attack. In his memory, THR takes a look back at five iconic moments from the landmark show.

Dick Clark&rsquos New Year&rsquos Rockin&rsquo Eve was created by Clark in 1973, the first installment ringing in 1973 on NBC. The broadcast moved to its current home at ABC two years later. Ryan Seacrest joined Clark as co-host in 2006, taking over completely in 2009. Clark had missed only one broadcast in his career (the result of a stroke in December 2004, which led to Regis Philbin filling in), making appearances until this year’s edition. In 2012, the show celebrated its 40 th anniversary with a two-hour retrospective special.

1973&rsquos Inaugural Broadcast: Before the annual countdown became a national tradition, Clark simply said: &ldquoIt is now 1973, as of now.&rdquo

1987 Promo Spot: ABC plugged its upcoming special in this 30-second commercial. Scheduled that year were The Bangles, Smokey Robinson, The Commodores and Miami Sound Machine.

Addressing 9/11: Clark had comforting words for his audience as New York City celebrated its first New Year&rsquos Eve since the horrific World Trade Center attacks of 2001. &ldquoIt was not the happiest year in America&rsquos life,&rdquo he said, &ldquobut we are pressing on.&rdquo

The Origins of NYRE: In a 1999 interview for the Archive of American Television, Clark recalls his first year hosting the series.

Clark’s Final Appearance: Clark stepped in front of the camera during the 2012 broadcast for a brief moment in what would become his final appearance on the show.


Watch the video: Dick Clarks Death


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