Dick Clark (entertainer)

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Dick Clark

Richard Wagstaff Clark (born November 30 1929), more commonly known as Dick Clark, is an American television entertainer. In addition to his television work, he is known for his continued youthful appearance ("America's Oldest Teenager") and has been in good health, but suffered a stroke—his first—on December 8 2004 at the age of 75.



Dick Clark was born in Mount Vernon, New York. Clark's career in show business began in 1945 when he started working in the mailroom of radio station WRUN in Utica, New York (which was owned by his uncle and managed by his father). Clark was soon promoted to weatherman and news announcer. Clark graduated from Syracuse University in 1951 and began his television career at station WKTV in Utica. Clark's first television hosting job was on "Cactus Dick and the Santa Fe Riders", a country music program.

In 1952, Dick Clark moved to Philadelphia and took a job as a disc jockey at radio station WFIL. WFIL had an affiliated television station with the same call sign which began broadcasting a show called Bob Horn's Bandstand in 1952. Clark was a regular substitute host on the show and when Horn left, Clark became the full time host on July 9, 1956. The show was picked up by ABC and was first aired nationally on August 5, 1957 and renamed American Bandstand. The show was a major success, running daily until 1963, then weekly until 1987; a spin-off of the show, Where The Action Is, aired from 1965 to 1967, also on ABC. Charlie O'Donnell, a close friend of Clark's and an up-and-coming fellow Philadelphia disc jockey, was chosen to be the announcer, which he served for ten years. O'Donnell to this day continues to work with Clark on various specials and award shows.

Clark produced Bandstand for syndication and later the USA cable network until 1989, giving up the hosting reins to David Hirsch in its final year.

Clark began investing in the music publishing and recording business in the 1950s. In 1959, the United States Senate opened investigations into "payola", the practice of music producing companies paying broadcasting companies to favor their product. Clark, as a major figure in both fields, was investigated and testified before Congress in 1960. Clark was not charged with any illegal activities but he was required by ABC to divest his publishing and recording interests.

On November 22 1963 Clark was in Dallas, Texas. As President John F. Kennedy was driven by Clark's hotel room, Clark waved at the president. (Clark was not in Dealey Plaza during the assassination of President Kennedy)

Clark has been involved in a number of other television series and specials as producer and performer. In 1972, he produced and hosted Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin Eve, the first of a ongoing series of specials still broadcast on New Year's Eve.

After two brief runs as a quiz-show host, Clark hit the jackpot with The $10,000 Pyramid, which premiered on CBS March 26 1973. The show—a word association game created and produced by daytime TV legend Bob Stewart—moved to ABC from 1974 to 1980, during which time the top prize was upgraded to $20,000. After a brief 1981 syndicated run as The $50,000 Pyramid, the show returned to CBS in 1982 as The $25,000 Pyramid, and continued through 1988, save for a three month break.

From 1985 to 1988, Clark hosted both the CBS $25,000 version and a daily $100,000 Pyramid in syndication.

Clark's daytime version of Pyramid won nine Emmy Awards for best game show, a mark eclipsed only by the 10 won by the Alex Trebek version of Jeopardy!.

The 1973-81 Pyramids meant a cross-country commute for Clark. Except for a brief stretch in fall 1973, the show was based in New York and Clark was based in southern California. But by this time Clark established himself as a producer/host comfortable with hard work, a trait that is as much his trademark as his signature signoff For now, Dick Clark... so long. accompanied by a salute. On the week-ending episodes of the ABC Pyramid, Clark would close with the line We'll see you tomorrow on Bandstand before using his signature signoff.

In 1984, Clark produced and hosted the NBC series TV Bloopers & Practical Jokes which ran through 1988 and continues in specials hosted by Clark (first on NBC, now on ABC) to the present day.

Clark also produces the current television series American Dreams about a Philadelphia family in the early 1960s whose daughter is a regular on American Bandstand. Clark also created and produces the annual American Music Awards.

On December 8 2004, Dick Clark was hospitalized in Los Angeles after suffering a minor stroke. Clark's spokeswoman, Amy Streibel said that he was hospitalized but was expected to be fine. However, on December 13 it was announced that, for the first time, Clark would not be able to host his annual New Year's Eve broadcast; Regis Philbin was announced as the substitute host.

This was only the second time Dick Clark was unable to host his annual New Year's Eve broadcast. The other time was in 1999, due to "ABC 2000 Today," which Peter Jennings hosted. However, Clark was a correspondent during the broadcast. It has also been revealed that Clark has Type 2 diabetes.

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Dick Clark on "The Weird Al Show"

Clark has been married three times. His first marriage was to Barbara Mallery in 1952; the couple had one son, Richard Jr., and divorced in 1961. Clark married Loretta Martin in 1962; the couple had two children, Duane and Cindy, and divorced in 1971. Clark has been married to his current wife, Kari Wigton, since 1977.

Clark received Emmy awards in 1979, 1983, 1985, and 1986 and the Daytime Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994. He is an inductee at the Hollywood Walk of Fame (1976), the Broadcasting Magazine Hall of Fame (1992), the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1993), and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame (1993).

Dick Clark's American Bandstand restaurants

He has a stake in a chain of restaurants called Dick Clark's American Bandstand.

While filming his documentary Bowling for Columbine in 2002, Michael Moore approached Clark in a car. Moore questioned Clark about a former employee of his restaurant chain Dick Clark's American Bandstand, whose son had shot another child, and the possible role of Michigan's workfare program in preventing the mother from adequately supervising her son. Clark rebuffed Moore, the van door was forcibly shut and Dinky was driven away.


Clark's continuous youthful appearance has drawn attention for a long time to the point of becoming a subject of jokes in other forms of comedy entertainment, though his recent health problems have likely hindered this trend. For instance, he's featured in the well-known comic strip The Far Side (where he suddenly ages 200 years on a talk show) and the less-known computer game Superhero League of Hoboken (where he's discovered living in a 23rd century wasteland looking exactly the same).

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