Dick Clark, the television pioneer who created American Bandstand, the Pyramid game show series of programs, and New Year’s Rockin’ Eve has died. He was known as America’s oldest teenager by generations of small screen viewers.
Though born in New York, for many years, Clark called Philadelphia his home. A neighbor was Ed McMahon (he later famously introduced to Johnny Carson).
American Bandstand is credited in bringng rock ‘n roll to a mainstream audience. Among his many early guests, included Elvis Presley, Little Richard, and Jackie Wilson. After moving Bandstand to Hollywood, Clark was able to showcase Leslie Gore, Stevie Wonder, and The Shirelles (among others). The theme song was a big hit for Barry Manilow.
Dick Clark took his show on the road with his annual Caravan of the Stars. Acts such as Chubby Checker, Pat Boone, James Brown, The Supremes, Smokey Robinson, and Chuck Berry were headliners while they toured the country. Many musical artists played to sold out and appreciative crowds.
A television spinoff of the concert tour Where the Action Is debuted in the mid-1960s. Clark also created The American Music Awards in 1973. He appeared in the motion picture Peggy Sue Got Married, which starred Kathleen Turner. He lent his persona to documentaries Bowling for Columbine and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. As an actor on television, Dick had noted guest roles on Perry Mason and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
Dick Clark Productions was formed by earnings made from American Bandstand, and it continues to this day. It’s created a number of successful game shows and television specials over the years. As a youthful host, Clark garnered four Emmys and a Peabody Award. His work earned his entry into the National Radio, Broadcasting Magazine, Rock and Roll, and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Halls of Fame.
On a personal note, Clark hired my good friend, Shawn Parr, a few years back. The mentor secured a number of lucrative jobs for the announcer, including the backstage voice assignment for the Golden Globes.
Dick Clark was 82.
Until next time> “never forget”