Veteran TV host Clark dies, aged 82

He passed away at a hospital in Santa Monica, California on Wednesday (18Apr12) after suffering a massive heart attack.

The industry legend was born in Mount Vernon, New York and embarked on his passion for showbusiness as a student at Syracuse University, working as a local DJ.

Upon graduating in 1951, he took a job at his father’s radio station in upstate New York.

His career ultimately took off when he moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to host his own musical show, Dick Clark’s Caravan of Music, and, in 1956, he fronted popular TV dance show American Bandstand, which featured famous faces like Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis.

The show quickly became a staple for teenagers and young music fans – and today Bandstand is still considered one of America’s favourites.

The icon launched Dick Clark Productions in 1963 and became famous for masterminding television awards shows and specials like Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, which in 1972 evolved into an annual tradition with its year-end countdown and Times Square ball drop.

Unfortunately, Clark’s health deteriorated in recent years and he suffered a stroke in 2004.

Despite his medical issues, frail body and speech problems, Clark returned to the annual New Year’s Eve countdown show in 2005 with new co-host Ryan Seacrest by his side, and this past year (11/12) he fronted the special for the final time, sharing an onscreen kiss with his wife and now-widow Kari Wigton at the stroke of midnight.

The four-time Emmy Award winner is also survived by three children – son Richard from his first marriage to Barbara Mallery, and two kids, Duane and Cindy, with his ex-wife Loretta Martin.