Dick Clark Dead at 82
Dick Clark died earlier today. The famed TV producer was 82.
Paul Shefrin, a rep for the entertainment legend, told ABC News his client suffered a “massive heart attack.” According to TMZ, Clark was at St. John’s hospital in Los Angeles for an outpatient procedure when the heart attack occurred. Attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful.
“American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest, who worked with Clark on his annual “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” specials, took time out of tonight’s “Idol” broadcast to memorialize his mentor. “We can’t begin tonight’s show without acknowledging the passing of a television pioneer and my dear friend Dick Clark,” Seacrest said. “Without Dick, a show like this would not exist. He will be missed greatly.” He then pointed to his watch and added, “I know that he’s in a better place, saying, ‘Hey let’s get on with the show.’ You got it, boss!”
Earlier in the day, following the news of Clark’s death, Seacrest offered condolences via Twitter. “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. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
The Mount Vernon, N.Y., native, who was born Richard Wagstaff Clark, became a breakout star after being tapped to host “American Bandstand,” an afternoon dance show for teenagers, which debuted nationally in 1957. Elvis Presley, Janis Joplin and the Jackson 5 were just some of the big acts featured on the hit show, though he reportedly regretted not booking The Beatles. Clark, went on to form his own production company and put out many popular shows, from the hidden camera series “TV’s Bloopers and Practical Jokes” to game show “The $25,000 Pyramid.” He also produced many TV award shows, including the Golden Globes.
In 1972, he hosted “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” for the first time, helping Americans countdown to midnight as the ball dropped in New York’s Times Square. He continued to helm the special until 2004 when he suffered a stroke that left him partially paralyzed and unable to speak. After Regis Philbin stood in for him the first year, Clark, who was also diabetic, passed the baton to “American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest and, after recovering, made an annual appearance to address the audience.
Clark’s first time back in 2006, he had the same boyish spirit people had grown to know. Although he clearly struggled with his speech, sounding hoarse and sometimes indecipherable, he candidly addressed the audience, saying: “Last year I had a stroke. It left me in bad shape. I had to teach myself how to walk and talk again. It’s been a long, hard fight. My speech is not perfect but I’m getting there,” noting “I wouldn’t have missed this for the world.”
Following Seacrest’s lead, other celebrities expressed their sadness over the passing of Clark as well. Jenny McCarthy, who appeared on “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” tweeted: “RIP dick Clark. You were amazing to work with. U will be missed. Xxxoo.” Joan Rivers chimed in, writing: “Very sad to hear about Dick Clark. What a great life. What a great career. Relevant until the end. He will be missed!” Even Snoop Dogg remembered the TV man, posting: “REST IN PEACE to the DICK CLARK!! U were pioneer n a good man!! Thank u sir.”
Clark is survived by his three children and his third wife, Keri Wigton, to whom he has been married since 1977.