Dick Clark, host of Dick Clark, the perpetually young-at-heart host of "American Bandstand" and the man with whom Americans have welcomed the New Year for decades, has died. He was 82.
His spokesman, Paul Shefrin, told The Associated Press that Clark suffered a heart attack on Wednesday morning at Saint John's hospital in Santa Monica.
Long before he became a midnight staple with "New Year's Rockin' Eve," Dick Clark was an icon. The host of "American Bandstand" and creator of shows including "The $25,000 Pyramid," "TV's Bloopers and Practical Jokes," and the American Music Awards, Clark is credited with bringing rock 'n' roll music to the mainstream masses.
"I played records, the kids danced, and America watched," Clark once said of "Bandstand," which aired on ABC from 1957 to 1987. But for artists everywhere, he did so much more. The Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame honored him in 1993, pointing out that he featured black artists and their original R&B hits instead of the then more-acceptable covers by white performers. A spot on one of his shows could catapult a musician from one-hit wonder to long-term fame.
He was sidelined briefly by a stroke in December 2004, but returned to ring in the New Year in 2005 in spite of difficulty speaking and appeared in the show through last year, though now Ryan Seacrest -- possibly the next "world's oldest teenager" -- has taken over as host.
Clark was featured on "This is Your Life," where he was lauded as a "musical star-maker, America's number one disc jockey, host, and… spokesman for the great, wholesome majority of American teenagers."
In spite of his already impressive resume, when Clark's episode of "This is Your Life" aired in 1959 he was just 30 years old and barely half-way through his amazing career. He went on to win four Emmy Awards, a Daytime Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award, a Peabody Award, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and was honored by the National Radio, Broadcasting Magazine, Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, and the Rock and Roll halls of fame.
What's your favorite memory of Dick Clark? Please share them in the comments!
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