The "Dick Clark Era" Comes to An End

April 20, 2012 by Amy Gold

Dick Clark
Dick Clark backstage at the 1990 Grammy Awards. (Photo by Alan Light.)

Famous and beloved television and radio personality Dick Clark has passed away at the age of 82, following a massive heart attack Wednesday morning. Four generations of listeners and viewers have invited Clark into their lives and their living rooms with the television shows that made him a household name and a much-loved celebrity. Clark is best known as the host of "American Bandstand," followed by the game show "Pyramid" and the annual ringing in of the New Year with "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve."

He was born Richard Wagstaff Clark, on November 30th, 1929 in Bronxville, New York. He was fondly nicknamed "America's Oldest Teenager," and his passion and dedication to the genre of rock and roll helped legitimize it during its early years on the scene. As host of "American Bandstand" from 1957 to 1987, Clark helped put many new performers into the public eye for the first time, including Simon & Garfunkel, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, and Stevie Wonder.

His dedication to rock and roll and the musicians who created it led to Clark enduring many complaints and criticisms over the years, but he never wavered or complained in return. Throughout his life and career, Clark maintained a clean cut image, always choosing to put the focus on the music and the musicians, rather than himself.

The eternally youthful Dick Clark was an American institution who will be deeply missed. People around the world shared fond memories of Clark after his passing, referring to him as a legend, an icon, and a man who believed in the greatness of others. Clark is survived by his wife, Kari, and three children.