by Tony Johnson
Dick Clark (November 30, 1929 – April 18, 2012)
“America’s oldest teenager” Dick Clark, the longtime host of “American Bandstand,” has died, He was 82.
Clark suffered a heart attack Wednesday while at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica for an outpatient procedure,. “Attempts to resuscitate were unsuccessful.” said publicist Paul Shefrin
The family has not yet decided whether there will be a public memorial service for the multifaceted Clark, although Shefrin said, “There will be no funeral.”
Clark suffered what was then described as “a mild stroke” in December 2004, just months after announcing he had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
That stroke forced Clark to cut back on his on-camera work, including giving up the hosting duties for the “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” specials. He returned as a co-host with Ryan Seacrest on December 31, 2005.
Clark’s “American Bandstand” work, which he began when it was a local TV show in Philadelphia in 1956, earned him the nickname “America’s oldest living teenager.” The dance show was picked up by ABC and broadcast nationally a year later.
“If you didn’t go on ‘American Bandstand,’ you hadn’t made it yet,” said singer Aretha Franklin
The savvy entrepreneur was a pioneer in introducing African-American and other performers to millions of young TV viewers. His audiences were integrated, among the first on television.
“Dick understood the connection that music had. It wasn’t about black, it wasn’t about white,” said Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men
Seacrest gave a statement “I am deeply saddened by the loss of my dear friend Dick Clark. He has truly been one of the greatest influences in my life. I idolized him from the start, and I was graced early on in my career with his generous advice and counsel. When I joined his show in 2006, it was a dream come true to work with him every New Year’s Eve for the last 6 years. He was smart, charming, funny and always a true gentleman. I learned a great deal from him, and I’ll always be indebted to him for his faith and support of me. He was a remarkable host and businessman and left a rich legacy to television audiences around the world. We will all miss him.”
President Obama also released a statement “Michelle and I are saddened to hear about the passing of Dick Clark. With ‘American Bandstand,’ he introduced decades’ worth of viewers to the music of our times. He reshaped the television landscape forever as a creative and innovative producer. And, of course, for 40 years, we welcomed him into our homes to ring in the New Year. But more important than his groundbreaking achievements was the way he made us feel – as young and vibrant and optimistic as he was. As we say a final “so long” to Dick Clark, America’s oldest teenager, our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends – which number far more than he knew.”
Clark became wealthy as a businessman, producing successful TV shows through Dick Clark Productions. He created the American Music Awards in the 1970s, a competitor to the Grammy Awards.
Born Richard Wagstaff Clark in Mount Vernon, New York, on November 30, 1929, he began his broadcast career working at a radio station managed by his father.
Clark, who was married three times, is survived by his wife, Kari, two sons and a daughter.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted Clark in its non-performer category in 1993.
Clark also hosted numerous other television favorites, including the “Pyramid” game shows and “TV’s Bloopers and Practical Jokes.”
Clark’s passing follows by less than three months the death of another TV dance show icon, Don Cornelius, the creator of “Soul Train.” Cornelius was found dead of what authorities said was a self-inflicted gunshot wound in Los Angeles on February 1. He was 75.
Information source: CNN
Copyright 2012 – Tony Johnson. All rights Reserved. No part of this commentary may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.