“Music is the soundtrack of our lives!”, said Dick Clark. Clark died of a heart attack this morning, 04.18.12, at age 82 after entering the hospital last night for an out-patient procedure.
There is nobody alive in the United States who has not seen Dick Clark on New Year’s Eve and for the baby-boomer generation he is an icon!
Dick Clark Hosting “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” (Screen Grab via YouTube)
Clark is best known for hosting long-running television shows such as “American Bandstand,” five versions of the game show Pyramid, Bloopers and Dick Clark’s yearly New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. Dick Clark was the guy ever to have a television show running on all 3 major networks at the same time. He also appeared in some dramatic roles throughout his career; he played against his nice guy image to portray the murderer in the final episode (air date 2 May 1966) of Perry Mason. He also played against type as a nerdy guy who turns out to be a psycho killer in the film, Killers Three.
He was known for his departing catchphrase, “For now, Dick Clark…so long,” delivered with a military salute, and for his youthful appearance, earning the moniker “America’s Oldest Teenager.” He looked great to the end even after his stroke.
Clark was born in Mount Vernon, New York in 1929, was class president of his senior high school class and was voted most likely to sell the Brooklyn Bridge. He began his show business career in the 1940s in the mailroom of WRUN, a radio station owned by his uncle and managed by his father in Utica, New York and later worked as both a news announcer and weatherman, then graduated from Syracuse University in 1951. After graduation he hosted a show called Bandstand in Philadelphia which ran against the top station in town’s show American Bandstand. When their host was ill, they called Dick Clark to fill in and as they say… the rest is history!
Dick Clark’s AB Grill in Branson, Missouri (Opened November 2007)
Clark convinced the owners to syndicate and the show was picked up by ABC television network. American Bandstand was first aired nationally on August 5, 1957. On that day, Clark interviewed Elvis Presley. Clark served as chairman and chief executive officer of Dick Clark Productions, which he has sold part of in recent years. Clark was also part owner in a chain of music-themed restaurants, a theme park, “Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Music Complex” opened near Dolly Parton‘s Dollywood theme park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and a theater in Branson, Missouri. On November 13, 2002 he was appointed as a director of Krispy Kreme U.K. Ltd.
Clark suffered a significant stroke in late 2004. He also revealed that he had Type 2 diabetes
With speech ability still impaired, Clark returned to his New Year’s Rockin’ Eve show on December 31, 2005/January 1, 2006 with Ryan Seacreast who always seemed honored just to be on the same stage with his mentor Dick Clark.
Subsequently, he appeared at the Emmy Awards on August 27, 2006, and every New Year’s Rockin’ Eve show since then.
Clark has been married 3 times — He is survived by 3-children Richard (“R.A.”, or “Rac”), Duane and Cindy from his first two marriages and by his current wife Kari Wigton.
Barry Gordy of Motown fame gave a glowing tribute to Dick Clark after hearing the news of Clark’ s passing today. Many entertainers who loved him, were discovered by him and worked with him are honoring him today as well as all his fans. Gloria Gaynor was one of the first I heard today saying Clark was an all around great guy and everyone’s cheerleader; he was always willing to help everyone she said. Kenny Rogers said Dick Clark was a friend and his death was a loss that you just couldn’t prepare for. Greg Gutfeld said Dick Clark was perhaps the first human brand and former Bush Press Secretary Dana Parino said Clark was a super-personality that everyone loved because he wasn’t polarizing.
Essentially being a Southern California girl growing up in the 1950’s and 1960’s and a college student of the 1970’s, Dick Clark was definitely part of my youth, watching him (along with Lloyd Thaxston… known for his finger people by many of us SoCal kids and Soul Train which Clark inspired) throughout my youth plus having a best friend, Barbara Levy who danced regularly on American Bandstand.
There is going to be one hell of a welcoming party tonight on the other side!
We will miss you Dick! Like many of the people that have gone before him that he hosted on his show including some who he gave their big break, Dick Clark is one of those people that will long be remembered and missed.
Video Tribute: Dick Clark Dead at 82