Dick Clark, who suffered a serious stroke in 2004 but then
returned to the airwaves, reportedly died from a heart attack April 18,
2012 … he was 82.
Dick and I spoke by phone on several occasions,
the last being just before our alumni reunion back in 2004. He did some voicers saying happy
anniversary and briefly talking about his years at WOLF.
will always be remembered as the host of American Bandstand as well as
television producer who changed the way we listened to pop music. In his
later years his New Years Rockin' Eve became a fixture of New Year's
He was born in Mount Vernon, N.Y., on Nov. 30, 1929,
Richard Wagstaff Clark began his lifelong career in show business began
before he was even out of high school. He started working in the mailroom
of WRUN, Utica, New York. Which was run by his father and uncle. It wasn't
long before he was filling in for the weatherman and the
Clark pursued his passion at Syracuse University, working as
a disc jockey at the student-run radio station as well as WOLF. After
graduating in 1951, Clark went back to his family's radio station, and
also worked at WKTV as a news man using the name Dick Clay. But within a
year, he moved on to bigger things.
Dick landed a gig as a DJ at WFIL
in Philadelphia, spinning records for a show he called Dick Clark's
Caravan of Music. There he broke into the big time, hosting Bandstand, an
afternoon dance show for teenagers.
Within five years, the whole
country was watching. ABC took the show national, and American Bandstand
According to ABC News, American Bandstand's formula was
simple. Clean-cut boys and girls danced to the hottest hits and the newest
singles. In between, Clark chatted with the teens, who helped
"rate-a-record," turning songs into sensations. Everyone showed up on
American Bandstand: from Elvis Presley to Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry to
When Dick Clark moved to Hollywood in 1963,
American Bandstand moved with him. He started Dick Clark Productions, and
began cranking out one hit show after another. His name became synonymous
with everything from the $25,000 Pyramid and TV's Bloopers &
Practical Jokes to the American Music Awards. In 1972, Dick Clark became
synonymous with one of the biggest nights of the year.
Dick Clark's New
Year's Rockin' Eve on ABC became a Dec. 31 tradition, with Clark hosting
the festivities for more than three decades, introducing the entertainment
acts and, of course, counting down to midnight as the ball dropped in New
York's Times Square.
But the traditional celebration saw a
temporary stop in 2004, when Clark suffered a stroke that left him
partially paralyzed and struggling to speak.. But by the next New Year's
Eve, Dick Clark was back, his speech still impaired. In halting words, he
told the audience, "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
But that didn't stop him: he returned each year, and recently
Ryan Seacrest joined him.
The Museum of Broadcast Communications has
done the math, and figures that Dick Clark Productions has turned out more
than 7,500 hours of television programming, including more than 30 series
and 250 specials, as well as more than 20 movies for theatre and
All this earned Clark a long list of awards and accolades:
Emmys, Grammys, induction in the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame, a star on the
Hollywood Walk of Fame. It also made him one of the richest men in
Hollywood; he also had stakes in a wide range of businesses, including
restaurants, theatres and real estate.
In March of 2012, he put
one of his homes on the market, asking $3.5 million for a one-of-a-kind
house on 22 acres in Malibu, modeled after Fred and Wilma's house on "The
His three children and his third wife, Keri Wigton,
married to him since 1977, survive Clark, whose eternally youthful look
earned him the nickname “America’s Oldest Teenager”. He credited his
appearance to good genes, once saying, "if you want to stay young looking,
pick your parents very carefully."
Now, America's Oldest Teenager
is gone, leaving his indelible mark on generations of fans, and helping
change rock 'n' roll and TV forever. His signature sign-off was always
"For now, Dick Clark… so long," said with a salute. Today, generations of
Americans are saluting back.
WOLF Promtional Pictures of former announcer, The Great
Craig Fox (Current Owner) & Dick
An icon in the History of
Broadcasting in America worked at WOLF while attending Syracuse University
and later in syndication form in December 1962. Click
here for a great bio on the legendary American
15 Jocks circa Early 1969
Bob O'Brien, Big John Allen, Les
Howard, Mike Fisher, Don Bombard, Jim Sims
shots of WOLF long before the Harbor Renewal
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