TV Host and Icon of New Year’s Eve
By BRUCE WEBER
Published: April 18, 2012
Dick Clark, the perpetually youthful-looking television host whose long-running daytime song-and-dance fest, “American Bandstand,” did as much as anyone or anything to advance the influence of teenagers and rock ’n’ roll on American culture, died Wednesday. He was 82.
The cause was a heart attack, a spokesman, Paul Shefrin, said in a statement.
Mr. Clark had a well-publicized stroke in December 2004, shortly before he was to appear on the annual televised New Year’s Eve party he had produced and hosted every year since 1973. He subsequently returned for brief appearances on the show, most recently this past New Year’s Eve.
With the boyish good looks of a bound-for-success junior executive and a ubiquitous on-camera presence, Mr. Clark was among the most recognizable faces in the world, even if what he was most famous for — spinning records and jabbering with teeny-boppers — was on the insubstantial side. In addition to “American Bandstand” and “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” Mr. Clark hosted innumerable awards shows, comedy specials, series based on TV outtakes and the game show $10,000 Pyramid” (which lasted long enough to see the stakes ratcheted up to $100,000). He also made guest appearances on dramatic and comedy series, usually playing himself.
But he fancied himself a businessman even more than a television personality — “I get enormous pleasure and excitement sitting in on conferences with accountants, tax experts and lawyers,” he said in an interview with The New York Times in 1961 — and he was especially deft at packaging entertainment products for the small screen.