Name at birth: Richard Wagstaff Clark
Dick Clark was the creator of the dance show American Bandstand and the ageless co-host of the annual Times Square TV special, New Year's Rockin' Eve. Dick Clark graduated from Syracuse University in 1951 and started work as a disc jockey in Philadelphia in 1952. Four years later he was named permanent host of Bandstand, a local TV show that showcased national music acts. Clark changed the tone of the show to appeal to teenagers and featured newer, younger acts who lip-synched to records while teens danced in the studio. ABC began broadcasting Clark's American Bandstand nationally in 1957, and for years the hit show influenced American pop charts. It became one of the longest-running shows in television history, going into syndication after ABC canceled it in 1987. By then, Clark's eternally youthful appearance and musical interests had earned him the nickname of "America's oldest teenager." He had also shrewdly created his own company, Dick Clark Productions, which began producing a variety of game shows, talk shows and other productions. Clark hosted several of those shows, including The $10,000 Pyramid (later The $100,000 Pyramid), TV's Bloopers and Practical Jokes (with co-host Ed McMahon), the perennial year-ender Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve (which first aired in 1972), and the daytime talk show The Other Half (with Danny Bonaduce).