Better known as Dick Clark, the iconic American host worked his way from radio to television. At the age of 27, in 1956, Clark’s television career began when he was hired as a replacement host for “American Bandstand.” The following year, the show gained national attention on ABC, drawing in more than 40 million viewers. In 1989, more than 30 years after the show’s start, Clark put down the “Bandstand” mic for good.
Clark’s impact is recognized in the industries of both television and music, alike. His show inspired the likes of TV music shows, including “Soul Train,” “America’s Top 10,” and MTV’s “Total Request Live.” When asked about Clark’s contribution to the world of entertainment, Hollywood producer Michael Uslan told the LA Times, “He was able to use his unparalleled communication skills to present it in a way that it was palatable to parents and the establishment.”
To honor his achievements, Clark was indicted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993. After “Bandstand,” Clark continued to pursue producing and hosting gigs—connecting his TV audience to programs including the “Pyramid” game shows, “TV’s Bloopers and Practical Jokes,” and “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.” According to the NY Times, Clark ultimately “built an entertainment empire on the shoulders of ‘Bandstand’.”
At the age of 75, Clark suffered a stroke weeks before he was set to host his 22nd New Year’s Eve special. Although his speech was affected by the stroke, Clark returned the following year, in 2005, to host the show with Ryan Seacrest. Clark’s longtime friend, U.S. Rep. David Dreier told CNN, “Clark anguished each year over whether to continue appearing on the annual show because of limitations on his speech from the stroke…But then he would get deluged by people who were stroke victims and other people who had infirmities and they were such admirers of his fighting spirit.”
Indeed, it is Clark’s legendary fighting spirit that will be remembered in the upcoming years. Clark died on Wednesday afternoon after suffering a heart attack while at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, Ca. for an outpatient procedure. He was 82 years old.