DEAD: ON THIS DATE
Dick Clark (aged 82)
American radio and television personality
Richard Wagstaff Clark (November 30, 1929 – April 18, 2012) was an American radio and television personality, television producer and film actor, as well as a cultural icon who remains best known for hosting American Bandstand from 1957 to 1988. He also hosted the game show Pyramid and Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, which transmitted Times Square’s New Year’s Eve celebrations. Clark was well known for his trademark sign-off, “For now, Dick Clark — so long!”, accompanied by a facsimile of a military salute.
As host of American Bandstand, Clark introduced rock & roll to many Americans. The show gave many new music artists their first exposure to national audiences, including Iggy Pop, Ike & Tina Turner, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Talking Heads, Simon & Garfunkel and Madonna. Episodes he hosted were among the first in which blacks and whites performed on the same stage, and likewise among the first in which the live studio audience sat without racial segregation. Singer Paul Anka claimed that Bandstand was responsible for creating a “youth culture”. Due to his perennial youthful appearance and his largely teenaged audience of American Bandstand, Clark was often referred to as “America’s oldest teenager” or “the world’s oldest teenager”.
DEATH: In December 2004, the 75-year-old was hospitalized in Los Angeles after suffering what was initially termed a minor stroke. Although he was expected to be fine, it was later announced that Clark would be unable to host his annual New Year’s Rockin’ Evebroadcast. Clark returned to the series the following year, but the dysarthria that resulted from the stroke rendered him unable to speak clearly for the remainder of his life. On April 18, 2012, Clark died from a fatal heart attack at the age of 82 while undergoing a transurethral resection procedure to treat an enlarged prostate. Clark’s family did not immediately decide whether to have a public memorial service, but stated “there will be no funeral”. He was cremated on April 20, and his ashes were scattered in the Pacific Ocean.