"America's Oldest Teenager" Dick Clark dead at age 82
It is a sad measure of how addicted-to-the-moment our media culture has become, that amid the messages on Twitter reacting to the death of former American Bandstand host Dick Clark were some posts asking who he was.
Once upon a time, Clark was one of the most ubiquitous presences on television, from his legendary status hosting one of television's most successful music shows, to his work producing and hosting the classic game show The $25,000 Pyramid, the American Music Awards, the Academy of Country Music Awards, the Golden Globe Awards, TV's Bloopers and Practical Jokes and New Year's Rockin' Eve.
Clark died Wednesday morning of a heart attack at a California hospital where he was having an outpatient procedure, according to the Associated Press.
He was one of the few TV personalities from the earliest days of rock 'n' roll to grow beyond the genre, building a media empire on the tastes of the baby boomer music fans who he first hooked with Bandstand, which started as a Philadelphia-area music showcase in 1957.
Whatever Ryan Seacrest is doing now -- hosting the biggest music shows, a huge radio show, producing other TV shows -- Clark did first. That's one reason why it made so much sense Seacrest would fill in for Clark after a 2004 stroke made it difficult for him to host ABC's New Year's Eve special each year.
Clark did come back and make special appearances, though his speech and demeanor were never quite the same.
The tributes to Clark poured out over Twitter as news of his death spread today:
Jemaine Jackson tweeted: Dick Clark always came to our dressing pre-show to make sure we were okay and catered for. Big hearted. One-of-a-kind. Will be missed...
Mickey Dolenz of The Monkees: RIP Dick Clark...He produced the first Monkees tour in 1967...A legend~
DMC from Run DMC: R.I.P Dick Clark! Dont get it twisted! He stood in the B-Boy stance with me Run & Jay! He is down wit da King!
Ryan Seacrest: I am deeply saddened by the loss of my dear friend Dick Clark. He has truly been one of the greatest influences in my life.
The New York Times has a great tribute to him here.
I'll admit I was more of a Soul Train kid than Bandstand -- Soul Train creator Don Cornelius even said he created his show to develop a black-centered version of Bandstand -- but i always respected his talent as a broadcaster, producer and host.
Check out a few retrospectives below.