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Glenn Halbrooks

Media Icon Dick Clark Dies at 82

By April 19, 2012

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The media industry has lost another icon. Dick Clark has died at the age of 82.

A photo of a pedestrian seeing news of the death of Dick Clark outside ABC News headquarters
A pedestrian sees news of the death of Dick Clark outside ABC News headquarters in New York.
Photo © Getty Images
Clark died of a massive heart attack at a hospital in Santa Monica, California, where he'd been admitted for a medical procedure. Most of his fans were well aware of the stroke he suffered in 2004 that took a toll on his speech, but didn't affect his upbeat demeanor when he'd make his brief appearances on the annual Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve, which had its 40th anniversary this year.

Long before Oprah Winfrey turned her on-air popularity into a business empire, Clark paved the way for personalities to build their own media businesses. As CBS News points out, during the 1980s, Clark appeared on all three networks. That's when he hosted the Pyramid game shows on CBS, American Bandstand on ABC and served as co-host with Ed McMahon on TV's Bloopers and Practical Jokes on NBC. That's a feat that Oprah hasn't matched.

Dick Clark Productions, his company, was responsible for thousands of hours of entertainment. The Museum of Broadcast Communications has a list of his projects. They span TV, radio, films and publications. From his early days in the 1950s, he even had a role in a government investigation into media payola.

Many people starting out in media today will never fully appreciate Clark's contributions because they never watched American Bandstand or listened to his various syndicated radio programs, like Dick Clark's Rock Roll and Remember. All they may know of him is his slurred speech when Ryan Seacrest would talk with him on the New Year's Eve specials.

Those final TV appearances were inspiring and sad. Inspiring because Clark had the determination to keep going, giving millions of Americans comfort that despite all the problems in the world, the new year was a time to celebrate. Sad because you would know that in some bar, a drunk guy would be doing an impersonation of Clark's speech while someone else would complain that Clark needed to get off the TV stage. They would fail to realize that Clark built that stage and had every right to appear on it unless he decided to retire.

In recent months, we've been faced with the deaths of Andy Rooney, Mike Wallace and now Dick Clark. Three media pioneers who will never be replaced.

How will you remember the life and career of Dick Clark?

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