A Tribute to Dick Clark (1929-2012)

America's oldest teenager passed away on April 18, 2012. He was well-known for numerous shows and entertained multiple generations. (Photo by Getty Images/ABC)

By: Jacob Elyachar

America has lost its’ oldest teenager.   Broadcast legend Dick Clark passed away on April 18, 2012 from a heart attack.    Mr. Clark was one of the most influential figures from the last century.  He helped shaped the entertainment and music industries through his shows like American Bandstand, Pyramid and Dick Clark’s Rockin New Years Eve.   

Mr. Clark was born in Bronxville, New York on November 30, 1929.  After graduating high school in 1947, he began his career as a mailroom clerk at WRUN Radio in Rome, New York but people began to notice him when he moved to Philadelphia in 1952 where he took a job with WPVI and began as a substitute host on a little program known as Bob Horn’s Bandstand.   Four years later, Clark became the primary host of the show and it was re-named American Bandstand.  

For 33 years, he introduced America and later the world to the new faces into the music world including some huge names in the music industry that included Barry Manilow, Madonna, KISS, Aerosmith, Sonny and Cher and numerous members of the Jackson and Osmond families.    He also broke down racial barriers and invited numerous African-American artists to debut their songs.  Without his help, Chubby Checker, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder or Aretha Franklin would not have earned the legendary statuses they have earned today.   American Bandstand’s legacy of showcasing new artists, dance styles and talent continues on shows including American Idol, the Voice and So You Think You Can Dance.

In addition to his pride and joy: American Bandstand, Clark continued to build his media empire.   He began by hosting numerous versions of the classic multi-decade game show: Pyramid.     Clark moderated numerous half-hour shows that paired celebrities with two contestants who had to work all the way to the Winner’s Circle to compete for thousands of dollars.    Clark returned to the show when Pyramid returned to the airwaves for a brief run in 2002 as a contestant with Donny Osmond as a host and Betty White as his fellow competitor.

However, while Bandstand and Pyramid have left the airwaves, one show that will continue to remain on the air and help Americans count down to midnight on New Year’s Eve is New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.   For five decades, Dick Clark kicked off the nation’s giant New Year’s Eve party with huge musical guests and excited partygoers.    He only missed one episode of Rockin’ Eve and that was in 2004 when he suffered a stroke and was temporary replaced by T.V. legend Regis Philbin.   Since Clark’s return in 2005, he joined by heir apparent Ryan Seacrest and the show became Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest. 

Mr. Clark began to expand his empire outside of those three classic shows in his self-titled production company that produced numerous specials and prime-time series including the annual American Music Awards, American Dreams, the Golden Globe Awards and TV Bloopers & Practical Jokes.   In 2007, Mr. Clark sold Dick Clark Productions to Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder for $175 million.

Thank you Mr. Clark for your contributions to the entertainment industry.  We will miss you tremendously. 

To learn more about Dick Clark’s life, visit his Website: http://www.dickclarkonline.com/

To watch several of his classic Bandstand interviews, click here:

-Aretha Franklin: http://youtu.be/6UiUqN5WMUk

-Beach Boys: http://youtu.be/rWxj0UadXIY

-James Brown: http://youtu.be/1MF1wktnhX0

-Madonna: http://youtu.be/orwhstP7DIU

To see his Pyramid episode with Donny Osmond and Betty White, click here: http://youtu.be/yNpQq8h0F5k

I do not own any of these clips that were featured in this article.  They belong to Dick Clark Productions, Sony Pictures Television and their respective artists. 


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