Music industry impresario Dick Clark died of a heart attack yesterday. He was 82. Known for many decades for his youthful appearance, he wore the nickname of "America's oldest teenager," well until he suffered a serious stroke in 2004.
Despite the setback, he continued to play a part on the annual televised New Year's Eve celebration he began hosting in 1972.
"New Year's Rockin' Eve" was just one of the many TV shows he hosted, including the "Pyramid" game shows, "TV's Bloopers & Practical Jokes" and most famously, "American Bandstand," which he hosted from 1952 through 1989.
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"Bandstand" will be Clark's most enduring legacy, as the show was one of the first to bring rock 'n' roll into the homes of families across the country when the music was generally considered to be dirty and rebellious. Clark put a clean face on the emerging genre and showcased new acts and clean-cut-looking American teens dancing to the latest sounds. The importance of "Bandstand" can't be overstated. It was a barometer of the trends with some of music's most legendary performers appearing on the show, including Michael Jackson, the Beach Boys, Madonna, Pink Floyd, Prince and R.E.M.
Clark is survived by his three children and his third wife Kari Wigton.
Clark used to famously sign off from "Bandstand" by giving a military salute and saying, "For now, Dick Clark ... so long," a sadly appropriate sentiment now.
To see some of our favorite "Bandstand" clips, click here.