Dick Clark, a legend in both radio and onscreen, has died of a massive heart attack at the age of 82.
Clark has been a comforting face on our television screens for decades, starting with American Bandstand in 1956 and ending with the annual bash “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve”, which he created and had hosted–or co-hosted–since 1972. Before that, he got his break in radio.
His boyish good looks and boundless energy earned him the nickname “America’s Oldest Teenager”, and his love of both music and broadcasting merged when he worked in the mailroom of his father’s radio station while still in high school. He managed to sweet-talk his way on-air, and from then on, a star was born.
After disc-jockeying in college, he went on to host the now-classic show “American Bandstand”, which was a turning point in both his career and television. The teen-targeted dance show became a huge hit for ABC and stayed that way for more than 30 years.
The icon wasn’t content to stay in one place, however, and lent his hosting talents to a variety of shows in the ’70s and ’80s, including “$25,000 Pyramid” and “TV’s Bloopers And Practical Jokes”, all of which contributed to his rising star and attached his name to television gold. He went on to create and host “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve”, a show that became a traditional watch for families all across America on December 31st.
Clark suffered a stroke several years ago which forced him to relinquish hosting duties to Ryan Seacrest, although the television icon has appeared on the show several times since, unconcerned about the side-effects of his stroke–which included slurred speech–as he worked at his first love: broadcasting. He has won several awards, including five Emmys, and has inspired countless Americans with his tireless work ethic and love of the job.
Clark suffered the heart attack this morning in L.A. after an outpatient procedure. He is survived by his wife Kari Wigton and a total of three children.