America says goodbye to it's oldest teen-ager: Clark
Ken Lubas/ Los Angeles Times/ MCT
Dick Clark testifies at a public hearing on Sept. 11, 2000 about the financial instability of the county trauma system at the County Hall of Administration in downtown Los Angeles. On April 18, 2012, Clark died of a heart attack at Saint John’s hospital in Santa Monica, Calif., a day after he was admitted for an outpatient procedure, spokesman Paul Shefrin said. He was 82.
Used with Permission/ Adobe Photoshop Graphic
Dick Clark at the 2003 Golden Globe Awards nominations at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, Dec. 19, 2002 in Los Angeles, Calif.
As they say in show business, a curtain has been drawn. Television personality Dick Clark died unexpectedly of a massive heart attack on April 18 in St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, Calif.
Known for hosting “American Bandstand,” an American music performance show, Clark became a household name. As Hank Ballard, a rhythm and blues singer songwriter once said of Dick Clark, “The man was big. He was the biggest thing in America at that time. He was bigger than the president!”
Early on in his 33 years of hosting “American Bandstand,”Clark ended the show’s all-white policy, desegregating the audience seating of the show. Clark went on to invite African American rocker Chuck Berry, one of the pioneers of rock and roll music, to perform on the show, breaking the final barrier between Black and White on “American Bandstand.”
Around this time, Clark developed the American Music Awards, originally created to rival the Grammys, which remains on air today. The American Music Awards was, and still remains, a unique award ceremony since the awards are given to those voted by the public rather than decided by members of the entertainment industry.
However, those of today’s generation most commonly affiliate Clark’s name with “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” the popular segment which films Times Square in New York City live while showing pre-recorded musical acts filmed in Los Angeles.
Beginning in 1972, Clark hosted the broadcast up until the 2004/2005 when he was recovering from a debilitating stroke. This allowed Ryan Seacrest to take over as the primary host, who had already been promised Clark’s place after his retirement. Teaching himself to walk and talk again, Dick Clark rebuilt his health to the best of his abilities, making appearances during the Rockin’ Eve segment from then on.
Dick Clark left a lasting legacy reaching multiple generations. As Smokey Robinson, a popular figure in Motown, said when hearing of his friend’s death, "I loved Dick Clark. He was so instrumental in my career as well as all the other Motown acts and so many others in the recording business. Goodbye, my friend, rest in peace."