Richard Augustus Wagstaff "Dick" Clark, Jr. (November 30, 1929 – April 18, 2012) was an American radio and television personality, as well as a cultural icon who remains best known for hosting American Bandstand from 1957 to 1987. He also hosted the game show Pyramid and Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve, which transmitted Times Square's New Year's Eve celebrations. Clark was also well known for his trademark sign-off, "For now, Dick Clark — so long!", accompanied with a military salute.
As host of American Bandstand, Clark introduced rock & roll to many Americans. The show gave many new music artists their first exposure to national audiences, including Ike and Tina Turner, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Stevie Wonder, Talking Heads and Simon & Garfunkel. Episodes he hosted were among the first where blacks and whites performed on the same stage and among the first where the live studio audience sat without racial segregation. Singer Paul Anka claimed that Bandstand was responsible for creating a "youth culture." Due to his perennial youthful appearance, Clark was often referred to as "America's oldest teenager".
In his capacity as a businessman, Clark served as Chief Executive Officer of Dick Clark Productions, part of which he sold off in his later years. He also founded the American Bandstand Diner, a restaurant chain modeled after the Hard Rock Cafe. In 1973, he created and produced the annual American Music Awards show, similar to the Grammy Awards.
Clark suffered a stroke in December 2004. With speech ability still impaired, Clark returned to his New Year's Rockin' Eve show a year later on December 31, 2005. Subsequently, he appeared at the 58th Primetime Emmy Awards in 2006, and every New Year's Rockin' Eve show through the 2011–12 show. Clark died on April 18, 2012 of a heart attack at the age of 82 following a medical procedure.
By Dean Hanley
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