Dick Clark was an American entertainer and businessman, who gained prominence as the host of television programs such as American Bandstand and The $5.98 Beauty Show.

Dick Clark was a popular television personality in the 1950’s and 1960’s. He is best known for hosting American Bandstand from 1957 to 1987, and for his long-running annual New Year’s Eve show, Dick Clark’s Rockin’ Eve.

Dick Clark, dubbed “America’s Oldest Living Teenager,” was one of America’s most well-known television personalities for decades, because to his silky charisma and perennially young look. Still, Clark’s incredible career longevity would not have been possible if he hadn’t also been a brilliant businessman; whether he was producing television shows or highlighting music and dance on his legendary show American Bandstand, Clark was a keenly perceptive trend-spotter with a strong sense of what the American public preferred in terms of mainstream entertainment. Clark, as a rock and roll icon, was instrumental in moving the music toward respectability, for better or ill. The clean-cut production standards of American Bandstand, along with Clark’s own character, made rock & roll (as well as racially mixed dance) appear less frightening to many adults, and gave numerous musicians national recognition. Clark, on the other hand, helped tame the wildness of early rock & roll by preferring more straight pop and teen idol material, putting the genre into a doldrums until saved by the British Invasion, despite never being a huge rock & roll fan himself. Clark’s achievements, on the other hand, greatly exceeded that artistic fault in the long run, and both he and American Bandstand became American institutions.

Wagstaff, Richard Clark was born on November 30, 1929, in Mt. Vernon, New York, and grew up there. As a youngster, he got interested in radio and worked in the mailroom of the AM station that his uncle and father co-owned; when the FM weatherman was on vacation, Clark started filling in for him and soon began reading news updates during station breaks as well. Clark moved on to Syracuse University to study advertising and radio, and after working at a few radio stations, he got a position as a television broadcaster in Utica, New York, where he did the news and hosted a country music show. He was employed by WFIL, a radio and television station in Philadelphia, in 1952. Clark started filling in on the television side for regular presenter Bob Horn on an afternoon adolescent dancing show called Bandstand while working as a radio DJ. After Horn’s arrest for drunk driving in 1956, Clark took over the show full-time, and Bandstand soon became one of Philadelphia’s most popular local shows. In 1957, ABC took up the program and renamed it American Bandstand, making it not just the first network TV show dedicated to rock music, but also a fixture of their after-school schedule.

Thanks to American Bandstand, Clark became a fast-rising celebrity, landing his own ABC variety program within a year. While he wasn’t a rock & roll specialist, he was fascinated by the Philadelphia teenagers who came on the show, particularly their favorite songs and dances. Simultaneously, he demanded a more rigorous dress code (no trousers or tight tops for females, coats and ties for guys) to keep the show’s appearance as pure as Clark himself. With such wide appeal, American Bandstand became a powerful arbiter of adolescent fashion, and the show’s success could result in massive sales increases for songs included (or lip-synced by the show’s artists). Clark took advantage of it by investing in a number of Philly-area record labels, pressing facilities, and music publishing businesses, and tunes from those enterprises were often featured on American Bandstand. Those marketing techniques may have been labeled “synergistic” in today’s age of corporate cross-promotion, but they came off as a little shadier in the period of payola scandals. Clark was summoned to appear during the Congressional payola hearings in 1959, but he was merely admonished for accepting costly presents from a record company president on one occasion; no proof of criminal activity in his commercial enterprises was revealed. Nonetheless, to prevent any impression of impropriety, ABC urged Clark to sell up his holdings, which he did. Clark, on the other hand, was astute enough to keep the rights to individual episodes of American Bandstand, resulting in a large and valuable collection of film.

American Bandstand aired daily until 1963, when ABC moved to a once-weekly Saturday show. Clark relocated the show from Philadelphia to Los Angeles the next year, as well as his production business, to promote concerts and create television programs. He became a New Year’s icon when he presented the inaugural Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve spectacular from Times Square in 1972, and he had his first successful game-show endeavor with The 10,000 Pyramid the following year. The 25,000 Pyramid evolved into The 100,000 Pyramid during its run on CBS, ABC, and syndication from 1973 to 1989, perfectly capturing the increase of inflation. The American Music Awards were established by Clark in 1974 to compete with what he saw as an increasingly pompous and out-of-touch Grammy event. During the 1980s, Clark co-hosted a series of specials called TV’s Bloopers and Practical Pranks with Ed McMahon, which combined outtakes from famous programs with recorded practical jokes on ordinary people; the specials even became a regular series for a brief while. When ABC wanted to reduce American Bandstand from 60 minutes to 30 minutes in 1987, Clark refused, and the program went into syndication. After a year and a half on the USA cable network, Clark stepped down as host; the program didn’t make it through the end of 1989 without him, but by that time, it had already established itself as the longest-running music show in American television history.

Clark continued to host the American Music Awards and New Year’s Rockin’ Eve throughout the 1980s and 1990s, in addition to other one-off hosting jobs and cameo appearances, and acted as the executive producer of many TV movies and programs. In 2001, Clark joined NBC for The Other Half, a male-hosted chat show aimed towards women that also included Mario Lopez from Saved by the Bell and Danny Bonaduce from The Partridge Family. Clark had a stroke in December 2004 that prevented him from participating on that year’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, but he returned in following years, commended by many for his bravery given the illness’s effect on his speech, while Ryan Seacrest took over as the show’s primary host. Clark died of a heart attack on April 18, 2012, at the age of 82, at a hospital in Santa Monica, California.

Dick Clark is an American television and radio host, producer, actor, and musician. He has hosted the American Bandstand from 1957 to 1961, the longest-running one-hour music show in history. Reference: cindy clark.

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