One of the most beloved and recognizable television personalities, Dick Clark, passed away at the age of 82 on Wednesday. Clark was the host of ‘Bandstand,’ ‘American Bandstand’ and ‘New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.’ Clark suffered from a heart attack on Wednesday morning at Saint John’s Hospital in Santa Monica. He was admitted to the hospital on Tuesday for an outpatient procedure.
Clark was nicknamed ‘the world’s oldest teenager’ because he had a boyish look. Clark’s career began in the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia, PA. After he graduated from Syracuse University he was hired at WFIL, which is 6ABC, in 1952. Clark’s first show was called ‘Dick Clark’s Caravan of Music.’
When Bob Horn, the host of ‘Bandstand,’ was fired in 1956, Clark was hired as the show’s host. The show quickly went from a staple on WFIL in Philadelphia to a national hit. From 1957 to 1987, ‘American Bandstand’ was one of network television’s longest running series on daytime TV for ABC. The show aired for one year in syndication and briefly aired on the USA Network.
Bernie Prazenica, the President & General Manager of 6ABC, issued the following statement on Wednesday:
“Dick Clark was one of the great pioneers at WFIL-TV (now WPVI-TV). He will always be a part of our family and our legacy, and we offer our deepest condolences to his family.”
Clark admitted in interviews in the 1980s that there were critics of the show.
“But I knew at the time that if we didn’t make the presentation to the older generation palatable, it could kill it. So along with Little Richard and Chuck Berry and the Platters and the Crows and the Jayhawks … the boys wore coats and ties and the girls combed their hair and they all looked like sweet little kids into a high school dance,” he said.
Tommy McCarthy, the current music director for WOGL in Philadelphia, was a dancer on the show at the age of 14.
“It’s a personal loss, but to the music industry – he discovered more talent than anybody in this planet. “American Bandstand” was the MTV of the ’50s and ’60s.,” McCarthy said.
Clark suffered a stroke in December of 2004 that caused him to miss his hosting duties on ‘Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.’ Clark returned the following year to host once again even though he was difficult to understand at times. His bravery was lauded by millions across the country.
Ryan Seacrest became the main host of the show when Clark suffered the stroke and released the following statement on Wednesday:
“I idolized him from the start, and I was graced early on in my career with his generous advice and counsel,” Seacrest said. “He was a remarkable host and businessman and left a rich legacy to television audiences around the world. We will all miss him.”