American Bandstand's Dick Clark dead at 82
America's ambassador for rock 'n' roll dies of massive hear attack
Always smiling and genteel, he introduced the American public to the top
popular musicians of the day by way of his perpetual teenage dance
party. "American Bandstand" host and TV producer Dick Clark has died at
the age of 82. Clark underwent surgery last night and suffered a
"massive" heart attack following the procedure.
Dick Clark, pictured with Michael Jackson, ushered a host of popular musicians into America's living rooms with "American Bandstand." Clark has passed away at the age of 82.
Clark began his career as a radio announcer at WRUN in Utica, N.Y., when he was all of 17 years old.
Clark pursued his passion at Syracuse University, working as a disc jockey at the student-run radio station while studying for his degree in business. After graduating in 1951, Clark went back to his family's radio station - but a far larger engagement awaited him.
It was when Clark landed a gig as a deejay at WFIL in Philadelphia in 1952, spinning records for a show he called "Dick Clark's Caravan of Music." There he broke into the big time, hosting "Bandstand", an afternoon dance show for teenagers.
"American Bandstand" was born five years later, and all of American tuned in to check out the latest teen fashions, hip dances and the latest rock, soul and pop musicians.
"American Bandstand's" formula was simple. Clean-cut boys and girls danced to the hottest hits and the newest singles. Clark chatted with his dancers, who helped "rate-a-record," turning songs into sensations. Everyone showed up on "American Bandstand," from Elvis Presley to Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry to Chubby Checker.
Clark later launched the American Music Awards in 1973, becoming a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee in 1993.
Many agree that the most remarkable thing about Clark was his seeming agelessness. He seemed perpetually frozen somewhere between his forties and fifties, yet eternally youthful, like everyone's favorite rich uncle.
Clark proved himself to be all too mortal when he suffered a stroke in December of 2004. He recovered and continued performing afterwards, even though it had affected his ability to speak and walk.
In spite of this, Clark ushered in the New Year in his typical high style in 2012. An American original, he will be sorely missed by all.
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