18 April 2012 12:56 PM, PDT | IMDb News
Dick Clark, chairman and CEO of Dick Clark Productions, best known for hosting the classic musical variety show "American Bandstand" for more than three decades, as well as ringing in the New Year on "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve," died today in Los Angeles after suffering a massive heart attack. He was 82 years old.
Clark was born and raised in Mount Vernon, New York, on November 30, 1929, to Julia Fuller and Richard Augustus Clark. He had one older brother, Bradley, who was killed in World War II. At the age of 16, Clark got his first job in the mailroom of WRUN, a radio station in Utica, New York, which was owned by his uncle and managed by his father. He worked his way up the ranks and was promoted to weatherman before becoming a radio announcer.
After graduating from Syracuse University with a degree in business administration, Clark began working at several radio and television stations before landing at WFIL radio in 1952. While working at the station, Clark became a substitute host for Bob Horn's Bandstand, an afternoon program where teenagers danced to popular music, broadcast by WFIL's affiliated television station. In 1956, Horn was arrested for drunk driving, giving Clark the perfect opportunity to step in as the full-time host.
After acquiring nationwide distribution the newly reformatted program, now titled "American Bandstand", premiered on ABC on August 5, 1957. In addition to the name change, Clark added interviews with artists (starting with Elvis Presley), lip-sync performances, and "Rate-a-Record," allowing teens to judge the songs on the show -- and giving birth to the popular phrase, "It's got a good beat and you can dance to it." Clark also established a formal dress code, mandating dresses and skirts for the women and a coat and tie for the men. But perhaps the most impactful change that Clark made to the show was ending "American Bandstand's" all-white policy, allowing African American artists to perform on the show.
Under Clark's influence, "Bandstand" became one of the most successful and longest-running musical programs, featuring artists including Chuck Berry, the Doors, the Beach Boys, Pink Floyd, and Smokey Robinson. Sonny and Cher, The Jackson 5, Prince, and Aerosmith were among the influential artists and bands that made their TV debuts on "Bandstand," which is also credited with helping to make America more accepting of rock 'n roll.
With the success of "American Bandstand," Clark became more invested in the music publishing and recording businesses, and began managing artists, hosting live sock hops, and arranging concert tours. But in 1960, when the United States Senate began investigating "payola," the practice in which music producing companies paid broadcasting companies to favor their products, Clark became caught up in the scandal. The investigation found he had partial copyrights to over 150 songs, many of which were featured on his show. Clark denied he was involved in any way, but admitted to accepting a fur and jewelry from a record company president. In the end, the Senate could not find any illegal actions by Clark, but ABC asked Clark to either sell his shares in these companies or leave the network so there was no conflict of interest. He chose to sell and continue on as host of American Bandstand, which was unaffected by the scandal.
In 1964, Clark moved Bandstand from Philadelphia to Los Angeles and became more involved in television production. Under his company Dick Clark Productions, he produced such shows as "Where the Action Is," "TV's Bloopers and Practical Jokes," and more recently, "So You Think You Can Dance," as well as made-for-television movies including Elvis, The Birth of the Beatles, Wild Streets, and The Savage Seven. Clark also hosted TV's $10,000 Pyramid, TV Bloopers and Practical Jokes (with co-host Ed McMahon), Scattergories, and The Other Half. Clark also had several radio programs, including "The Dick Clark National Music Survey", "Countdown America", and "Rock, Roll & Remember."
In 1972, he produced and hosted the very first edition of "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve," a musical program where Clark counted down until the New Year ball dropped in Times Square, featuring taped performances from musical artists. "New Year's Rockin' Eve" soon became a cultural tradition, airing on ABC every year with Clark as host (except in 1999 when ABC aired "ABC 2000Today," a news milestone program hosted by Peter Jennings). In December of 2004, Clark suffered a minor stroke and was unable to host, so Regis Philbin stepped in as a substitute. The following year, Clark returned as co-host alongside primary host Ryan Seacrest. Many were worried about Clark due to his slurred and breathless speech, and he admitted on-air he was still recovering but that he wouldn't have missed the broadcast for the world. The following year, Seacrest became "New Year's Rockin' Eve's" primary host, but Clark always returned for the countdown.
Clark has received several notable awards including four Emmy Awards, the Daytime Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994, and the Peabody Award in 1999. He was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1976, The Radio Hall of Fame in 1990, Broadcasting Magazine Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame.
Clark is survived by his wife, Kari Wigton, to whom he was married since 1977, and three children from two previous marriages: daughter Cindy and son Duane from his marriage to Loretta Martin, which lasted from 1962 until 1971, and another son, Richard Augustus, from his first marriage to his high school sweetheart Barbara Mallery, which lasted from 1952 until 1961.
Similar News ItemsMichael Jackson (I)
- Holiday Music Playlist: 30-Plus Songs to Listen to While Wrapping Presents (From Us Weekly. 20 December 2014, 7:36 AM, PST)
- Conrad Murray -- Crime and Bunishment (From TMZ. 19 December 2014, 7:50 AM, PST)
- Christmas Day's best TV (From The Guardian - TV News. 19 December 2014, 7:04 AM, PST)
- The 15 Best Music Videos of 2014 (From Vulture. 16 December 2014, 1:00 PM, PST)
- Why Blue Ivy Was the Breakout Star of 2014 (From Entertainment Tonight. 15 December 2014, 5:17 PM, PST)
- The X Factor: See the full Digital Spy reader vote statistics for 2014 (From Digital Spy - TV news. 15 December 2014, 4:26 AM, PST)
- The X Factor: What did the judges say about the Grand Finale, Night 2? (From Digital Spy - TV news. 14 December 2014, 1:31 PM, PST)
- 10 Weirdest Michael Jackson Statues You Won’t Believe (From Obsessed with Film. 14 December 2014, 9:45 AM, PST)
- Who Won 2014: Blue Ivy Carter or North West? (From VH1.com. 14 December 2014, 7:00 AM, PST)
- X Factor 2014 finalist: Andrea Faustini (From Digital Spy - TV news. 12 December 2014, 10:15 AM, PST)
- X Factor 2014 finalist: Fleur East (From Digital Spy - TV news. 12 December 2014, 10:15 AM, PST)
- X Factor 2014 finalist: Ben Haenow (From Digital Spy - TV news. 12 December 2014, 10:15 AM, PST)
- The X Factor: Find out Andrea, Ben and Fleur's final songs (From Digital Spy - TV news. 12 December 2014, 6:32 AM, PST)
- 15 Silly Things That Have Won Golden Globes (From Hitfix. 11 December 2014, 3:50 PM, PST)
- Don Mischer Receives His Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (From Variety - TV News. 11 December 2014, 10:00 AM, PST)
- Im Global moves into music (From ScreenDaily. 10 December 2014, 10:07 AM, PST)
- Your Full 46th NAACP Image Awards Nominees! (From Manny the Movie Guy. 10 December 2014, 6:50 AM, PST)
- Michael Jackson is Star-Lord in 1980s Guardians Of The Galaxy Poster Art (From GeekTyrant. 9 December 2014, 6:10 PM, PST)
- Chris Rock, Beyoncé, 'Selma' and more pick up NAACP Image Awards nominations (From Hitfix. 9 December 2014, 3:59 PM, PST)
- ‘Selma’ & ‘Get On Up’ Lead NAACP Image Awards Nominations (From Deadline New York. 9 December 2014, 10:32 AM, PST)
- American Idol: Fox Cutting Results Show (From TVSeriesFinale. 16 December 2014, 5:32 PM, PST)
- 10 More Reasons Kim Kardashian Cropped Her Child Out of a Photo (From Hitfix. 15 December 2014, 6:03 PM, PST)
- American Idol Cut Down Yet Again (From Boomtron. 15 December 2014, 5:43 PM, PST)
- Ryan Seacrest's First Kiss Was Just as Sweet as You'd Expect It to Be (From PEOPLE.com. 15 December 2014, 8:50 AM, PST)
- Seth MacFarlane Throws Star-Studded Holiday Bash With Guests Like Charlize Theron, Zac Efron, Robert Pattinson: Details! (From Us Weekly. 15 December 2014, 7:14 AM, PST)
- American Idol Will Scale Down to One Night a Week, Seacrest Confirms (From TVLine.com. 13 December 2014, 1:53 PM, PST)
- Ryan Seacrest: 'American Idol' to Be Reduced to One Night (From The Hollywood Reporter. 13 December 2014, 7:51 AM, PST)
- Ryan Seacrest, Shayna Terese Taylor Split, Radio Host Confirms He's "Single" (From Us Weekly. 13 December 2014, 3:38 AM, PST)
- Golden Globe Nominee Jeffrey Tambor on His 'Transformative' Role in 'Transparent' (From Entertainment Tonight. 11 December 2014, 7:02 PM, PST)
- ABC Family Orders Transgender Docu-Series ‘My Transparent Life’ (From Variety - TV News. 11 December 2014, 10:56 AM, PST)
- Why the 2 Golden Globe Nominations for 'Transparent' Are Important (From Entertainment Tonight. 11 December 2014, 8:30 AM, PST)
- ABC Family Looks Into Trandsgender Docuseries (From Boomtron. 11 December 2014, 7:52 AM, PST)
- Best of Late Night TV: Ricky Gervais' Lip Flip, Kathy Griffin's Britney Spears Experience (Video) (From Moviefone. 9 December 2014, 11:20 PM, PST)
- The Academy Announces Neil Patrick Harris’s Writing Team For 87th Oscars (From WeAreMovieGeeks.com. 9 December 2014, 2:25 PM, PST)
- Oscar Host Neil Patrick Harris’s Writing Team Announced (From Hollywoodnews.com. 9 December 2014, 1:25 PM, PST)
- Is This a Picture of Taylor Swift and Karlie Kloss Making Out? (Spoiler Alert: No.) (From Entertainment Tonight. 5 December 2014, 4:45 PM, PST)
- Ryan Seacrest Opens Up About His Childhood Insecurities to Jimmy Kimmel (Video) (From PEOPLE.com. 5 December 2014, 10:45 AM, PST)
- Ryan Seacrest -- Single Again and Mingling ... With Hot New Chick (From TMZ. 5 December 2014, 9:22 AM, PST)
- Jimmy Kimmel & Ryan Seacrest Reminisce About Nerdy Past -- See Awkward Photos! (From TooFab. 5 December 2014, 8:45 AM, PST)
- Jimmy Kimmel and Ryan Seacrest Bond Over Awkward Childhood Photos—Watch Now! (From E! Online. 5 December 2014, 5:47 AM, PST)
- Strictly Come Dancing: the final – Caroline Flack wins! (From The Guardian - TV News. 20 December 2014, 1:59 PM, PST)
- Interview: Anson ‘Potsie’ Williams on His Book ‘Singing to a Bulldog’ (From HollywoodChicago.com. 18 December 2014, 10:20 AM, PST)
- Strictly Come Dancing: The Grand Final song and dance list is here! (From Digital Spy - TV news. 17 December 2014, 6:15 AM, PST)
- Justin Timberlake Honors Idol Garth Brooks With Impromptu Singalong (From Entertainment Tonight. 10 December 2014, 9:56 PM, PST)
- Former Miss America Mary Ann Mobley Dies at 77 (From E! Online. 10 December 2014, 5:00 AM, PST)
- Former Miss America and Actress Mary Ann Mobley Dies at 77 (From PEOPLE.com. 10 December 2014, 12:00 AM, PST)
- Former Miss America and Actress Mary Ann Mobley Dies at 77 (From PEOPLE.com. 10 December 2014, 12:00 AM, PST)
- Mary Ann Mobley Dead -- Ex Miss America Dies from Breast Cancer (From TMZ. 9 December 2014, 5:45 PM, PST)
- Former Miss America, Actress Mary Ann Mobley Dies at 75 (From Variety - Film News. 9 December 2014, 5:20 PM, PST)
- Mary Ann Mobley, Miss America Turned Actress, Dies at 77 (From The Hollywood Reporter. 9 December 2014, 4:23 PM, PST)
- Ouija and The Book Of Life Blu-Rays Get Detailed and Dated (From Cinelinx. 9 December 2014, 11:35 AM, PST)
- The Voice's Top 5 Heat Up the Night in Tough Semifinals (From PEOPLE.com. 9 December 2014, 7:30 AM, PST)
- Awesome Mix Tape Volume 5: Best Soundtracks & Scores of 2014 (From SoundOnSight. 4 December 2014, 10:16 PM, PST)
- Jaime King Has Perfect Gift Picks For Everyone on Your List (From Popsugar. 3 December 2014, 1:25 PM, PST)
- The Missing drops to 4.6m on Tuesday, I'm a Celebrity top with 7.2m (From Digital Spy - TV news. 3 December 2014, 3:25 AM, PST)
- Strictly Come Dancing: Sunetra Sarker and Brendan Cole exit competition (From Digital Spy - TV news. 30 November 2014, 12:00 PM, PST)
- Strictly Come Dancing: week 10 – as it happened (From The Guardian - TV News. 30 November 2014, 11:58 AM, PST)
- Strictly Come Dancing goes global: The Week 10 songs and dances (From Digital Spy - TV news. 26 November 2014, 7:30 AM, PST)
- India’s RAWStar – Semi Finals! (From Bollyspice. 25 November 2014, 11:09 PM, PST)
- John Stamos Lights Up Elvis Presley's Graceland (From Entertainment Tonight. 24 November 2014, 5:49 PM, PST)