Clark, Dick

Clark, Dick,, 1929-2012, American radio and TV broadcaster and producer, b. Bronxville, N.Y., as Richard Wagstaff Clark; Syracuse Univ. (B.A., 1951). Best known as the host of the popular American Bandstand TV program (1956-89), Clark became a major TV personality and producer, hosting popular game shows and a regular New Year's Eve broadcast. While still in college, Clark worked on local radio and TV stations in the Syracuse area. He joined Philadelphia's WFIL radio in 1952, where he took his on-air name of Dick Clark; in 1956, he took over its affiliated TV station's popular local show, Bandstand, spinning records while local teens danced, which a year later was renamed American Bandstand when it was picked up by the national network. He also invested in record labels and music publishing. In 1960, Clark testified before Congress during the so-called "payola" hearings, using his clean-cut image to avoid the fate of other DJs who were swept up in the controversy of accepting payment for playing records on the air. In 1964, he relocated to Los Angeles, and began investing in radio stations and starting a TV production company. Clark hosted his first New Year's Rockin' Eve special in 1972, and a year later, began hosting what was initially known as The $10,000 Pyramid, a game show that ran through 1988, garnering nine Emmy Awards for best game show. Clark suffered a stroke in 2004, returning to host one final New Year's special in 2005, but then retired.

See his memoir, Rock, Roll, and Remember (1976, with R. Robinson); studies by J. Jackson, American Bandstand (1979), L. Lehmer, Bandstandland: How Dancing Teenagers Took Over America and Dick Clark Took Over Rock and Roll (2019).

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