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Dick Clark, The Host Who Never Aged, Dies At 82

Was responsible for rock and roll, New Years Eve, and even punking

His place was always on television, whether it was in front of the camera or behind it. And even a debilitating stroke in 2004 didn't slow him down much.

But it was a massive heart attack that would claim the life of one of America's beloved hosts Dick Clark, the man who many generations grew up watching his work in some form or another. He was 82.

TMZ is reporting that Clark died Wednesday morning following complications of an unspecified out-patient procedure at St. John's Hospital in Los Angeles. Doctors were unsuccessful in trying to revive him.

Clark was born Nov. 30, 1929 in Mount Vernon, N.Y., just outside New York City's the Bronx. He got his start in radio at WRUN (Now WUTI) in Utica, N.Y., which was owned by his uncle and managed by his father, becoming both a weatherman and a news announcer.

After graduating from Syracuse University, Clark returned to Utica and worked for the television station WKTV where he hosted a country music program "Cactus Dick and the Santa Fe Riders."

His big break would come in 1952 when he would move to Philadelphia where he worked for WFIL's radio and television stations. His good looks and fun demeanor on the air would allow him to substitute for host Bob Horn in the television show Bob Horn's Bandstand. When Horn left the show, Clark took it over, and within a year, it started broadcasting nationally on ABC as "American Bandstand."

The show aired daily until 1963, and then aired weekly until 1987, moving to Hollywood during its later days.

Clark would not forget about New York, and in fact returned each year beginning in 1972 for "Dick Clark's Rockin' New Year's Eve." His programming on Dec. 31 each year highlighting the ball drop in Times Square turned New Year's Eve into a major television event. He would only be limited or absent in two broadcasts during that run: First in 1999 as ABC News aired a special countdown welcoming 2000 (which he appeared as a correspondent), and in 2004 following his stroke with Regis Philbin stepped in.

Clark was back in 2005, now sharing hosting duties with Ryan Seacrest, and working to improve his speech, which was greatly affected by his stroke. His last appearance was on New Year's 2012.

Clark was known not just for his work in front of the camera, especially in shows like "$25,000 Pyramid" and "TV Bloopers & Practical Jokes," but for what he contributed behind the camera as well. Dick Clark Productions started in 1957, and has been responsible for a number of shows including "Bloopers," "So You Think You Can Dance" and even the short-lived NBC show "American Dreams," which featured classic footage from "American Bandstand."

Clark sold that company to Washington Redskins owner and former Six Flags chairman Daniel Snyder in 2007 for $175 million.

Clark created a whole new industry in itself in 1982 when he joined Ed McMahon in what would become "TV Bloopers & Practical Jokes." The practical jokes side, usually elaborate pranks pulled on celebrities, itself a send-off on "Candid Camera."

Clark is survived by his wife, Kari Wigton, who he married in 1977. He also has has three children: Richard Clark, Duane Clark and Cindy Clark. Duane is a television writer whose most recent credits include episodes of CBS' "Hawaii Five-0" reboot.

About the Author

Michael Hinman is the founder and editor-in-chief for Airlock Alpha and the entire GenreNexus. He owns Nexus Media Group Inc., the parent corporation of the GenreNexus and is a veteran print journalist. He lives in Tampa, Fla.
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