Facts about Dick Clark

Dick Clark died at 82 years old
Best known as: The host of American Bandstand and New Year's Rockin' Eve



Dick Clark Biography

Name at birth: Richard Wagstaff Clark

Dick Clark was the creator of the dance show American Bandstand and the ageless co-host of the annual Times Square TV special, New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.

Dick Clark graduated from Syracuse University in 1951 and started work as a disc jockey in Philadelphia in 1952. Four years later he was named permanent host of Bandstand, a local TV show that showcased national music acts. Clark changed the tone of the show to appeal to teenagers and featured newer, younger acts who lip-synched to records while teens danced in the studio.

ABC began broadcasting Clark’s American Bandstand nationally in 1957, and for years the hit show influenced American pop charts. It became one of the longest-running shows in television history, going into syndication after ABC canceled it in 1987.

By then, Clark’s eternally youthful appearance and musical interests had earned him the nickname of “America’s oldest teenager.” He had also shrewdly created his own company, Dick Clark Productions, which began producing a variety of game shows, talk shows and other productions. Clark hosted several of those shows, including The $10,000 Pyramid (later The $100,000 Pyramid), TV’s Bloopers and Practical Jokes (with co-host Ed McMahon), the perennial year-ender Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve (which first aired in 1972), and the daytime talk show The Other Half (with Danny Bonaduce).

Extra credit

Dick Clark had a stroke in December of 2004, which left his speech somewhat slurred. He missed the New Year’s Rockin’ Eve broadcast that year for the first time since 1972; Regis Philbin filled in for him as host. Clark returned to the broadcast lineup in 2005 as a kind of host emeritus, and continued to appear, sharing screen time with host Ryan Seacrest up through 2012, the year that Clark died… Dick Clark was married three times: to Barbara Mallery (1952-61), Loretta Martin (1962-71), and Kari Wigton (1977-present). He had a son with Barbara Mallery, Richard Augustus Clark (b. 1957), and two children with Loretta Martin: Duane (b. circa 1963) and Cindy (b. 1965).


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