Remembering Dick Clark

An iconic radio and television broadcaster, who hosted such TV shows as “American Bandstand,” “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” and “TV’s Bloopers and Practical Jokes, ” Dick Clark has died at age 82. He became the host of “Bandstand” when it was a local show in Philadelphia back in 1956, and was a key figure in taking the show to a national audience — remaining the show’s host until it ended its run in 1989.

Clark also produced and acted in a handful of successful films during the time “American Bandstand” originated from Philadelphia — including “Because They’re Young” and “The Young Doctors.”

He even appeared in the last original “Perry Mason” episode in 1966. Called “The Case of the Final Fade-Out,” the episode featured “Perry Mason” creator Erle Stanley Gardner in a small role as a presiding judge.

Among Clark’s many accomplishments was his successful integration of pop music.  Through “American Bandstand” the he helped introduce black artists to a predominantly white audience and successfully integrated the “Bandstand” audience, which in a time of segregation, featured both black and white couples dancing together on stage.

For many years Clark hosted various national music countdown programs on radio.  He also produced several radio and television programs through Dick Clark Productions.

That company produced the American Music Awards, the Golden Globe Awards, and the Academy of Country Music Awards. Clark also produced Bandstand and many of the shows he hosted.

Dick Clark Productions was sold in 2007 for 175 million dollars.

Clark also had a hand in the global fundraiser ‘Live Aid’ and in the grass-roots ‘Farm Aid.’ He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.

It was August 13th of the same year, Clark along with Paul Revere of “Paul Revere and the Raiders,” opened “Dick Clark’s American Bandstand” club on the 2nd Floor of the Harolds Club in downtown Reno. The business eventually closed in 1999 when it was decided Harolds Club was to be razed, to make room for Harrahs Outdoor Plaza.

I met him during the Grand Opening and came away believing he was one of the nicest guys ever.

Clark’s last TV appearance was on his annual “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” special to usher in 2012.  Through labored speech caused by a stroke in 2004, Clark reported on the festivities in New York’s Times Square.

In addition to his New Year’s Eve special, Clark’s lengthy and groundbreaking career has included his hosting of various incarnations of the game show “Pyramid,” as well as the Miss Universe pageant.

Dick interviewed a nine-year-old Michael Jackson during the Jackson 5’s first “Bandstand” appearance in 1970, and introduced the first Native American rock group, “Redbone,” to audiences in 1974, while Madonna told him she wanted “to rule the world” on her “Bandstand” debut in 1984.

Dick Clark died of a massive heart attack at St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California.  He had suffered a major stroke at the age of 75 in December of 2004 as well as battling Type-2 diabetes for a number of years.

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