Dick Clark was born Richard Wagstaff Clark in Mount Vernon, N.Y., in 1929. An American radio and television personality, best known for hosting television’s longest-running variety show, American Bandstand. Died Wednesday April 18, 2012, after suffering a heart attack following a medical procedure.
Mr. Clark also hosted The $25,000 Pyramid, TV’s Bloopers and Practical Jokes, the American Music Awards and Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, broadcasted from New York’s Times Square’s.
As host of American Bandstand he was a primary force in legitimizing rock ‘n roll, not only to teenagers, but also to America’s adult population. The show gave many new music artists their first exposure to national audiences. His shows were among the first where blacks and whites performed on the same stage and the live audience seating was desegregated.
In 1974, at ABC’s request, Clark created the American Music Awards after the network lost the broadcast rights to the Grammy Awards. As a successful businessman he served as chairman and chief executive officer of Dick Clark Productions. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.
He was honored at the Emmy Awards in 2006, telling the crowd: “I have accomplished my childhood dream, to be in show business. Everybody should be so lucky to have their dreams come true. I’ve been truly blessed.”
Mr. Clark suffered a massive stroke in December of 2004. With speech ability still impaired, Clark returned to his New Year’s Rockin’ Eve show on December 31, 2005/January 1, 2006 and every New Year’s Rockin’ Eve show through the 2011/2012 show.
Clark, twice divorced, had a son, Richard Augustus II, with first wife Barbara Mallery and two children, Duane and Cindy, with second wife Loretta Martin. He married Kari Wigton in 1977.
Dick Clark was 82 years old.