Sad news to pass along this afternoon. Dick Clark, the pioneering TV host of American Bandstand, passed away this afternoon. TMZ is reporting that Clark, who had been suffering from a number of ailments over the last ten years or so of his life, died after suffering a heart attack. He was 82 years old.
Dick Clark began his career shortly after graduating high school back in 1947, working for a radio station in upstate New York that his uncle owned. He quickly moved up the ranks, graduating from weatherman to disc jockey in a short period of time. He began hosting a program called Bandstand, which played the most popular songs of the day. Thanks to a combination of his moxie, business acumen and good looks, he was recruited by the fledgling American Broadcasting Company to bring his radio show to television in 1957, which was rechristened as American Bandstand. The show would go on to run for over 30 years, hosting acts as legendary and varied as Elvis Presley, The Beach Boys, Marvin Gaye, the Jackson 5, Run-D.M.C., R.E.M. and Prince.
Clark’s massive success with American Bandstand was just the first step in his path towards becoming one of the biggest music moguls the industry has ever known. In 1972, he launched Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve, a program that runs to this day. He also created the American Music Awards in 1973, an awards show that has successfully challenged the venerable Grammy Awards for nearly 40 years now. His broadcasting empire also included one of the most popular game shows in television history, The $10,000 Pyramid, and one of the more popular programs of the late 1980s, TV’s Bloopers And Practical Jokes (the Punk’d of its time).
Clark suffered a serious stroke in 2004, which he never quite recovered from. However, he showed incredible bravery when he returned to New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, the program he launched, on December 31, 2005. His speech was noticeably slurred due to the effects of the stroke that he suffered, but the courage he demonstrated served as an inspiration to all who watched him.
RELATED: Dick Clark Dead At 82, Remembered By Ryan Seacrest, Al Roker, Snoop Dogg, More [TheFABLife]
Dick Clark Dead at 82 [TMZ]
[Photos: Getty Images]