Dick Clark, the man who gained fame for his youthful appearance as the host of the popular American Bandstand telvevision program, has died of a massive heart attack following a medical procedure. He was 82.
Clark started as a disc jockey at a variety of stations in Upstate New York before relocating to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was here where he grew to prominence when his disc jockey job led to a role as the fill-in host on a local dance program called Bob Horn’s Bandstand starting in 1952. Clark would replace Horn several years later when Horn was fired. ABC television picked up the local TV Show in 1957, renamed it American Bandstand, and began airing it nationally. The rest is history.
American Bandstand aired daily from 1957 to 1963, before shifting to a weekly Saturday program until the end of its network run in 1987. During this time, Clark grew in fame and prominence, eventually amassing an entertainment empire under his name. He became known as a producer, primarily of TV shows such as TV’s Bloopers & Practical Jokes, The Weird Al Show and American Dreams, but he also dabbled in film production, typically with shlock explotaition films such as Psyche-Out, The Savage Seven, The Power, and Catchfire. He also produced the underrated Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins in 1985.
Clark also appeared in front of the camera on the big screen, appearing in films such as Because They’re Young, The Young Doctors, Wild in The Streets, Killers Three (which he also produced), and Spy Kids. His last major film work took place appearing as himself in two very different movies in 2002. He is ambushed by documentarian Michael Moore in Bowling for Columbine in regards to hiring practices in his restaurant chain. He also appears as himself the same year in George Clooney’s Chuck Barris biopic, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, interviewed in regards to his relations with Barris when the Gong Show creator worked in Standards and Practices at ABC.