Dick Clark, who made a name for himself as a game show host, TV and radio host of several programs, including American Bandstand and the annual New Year's Rockin' Eve on ABC, died suddenly on Wednesday. Sources say Clark, who had suffered a significant stroke in 2004, died as the result of a heart attack. He was 82.
Dick Clark's life has changed dramatically since 2004, when the smooth-talking host was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in April and then suffered a major stroke later that year, in December. Clark's gift of gab, one of his greatest talents, was suddenly stripped from him, and his speech became extremely impaired. He made his return to television in December of 2005, and even though he had difficulty speaking, he was still able to countdown to the new year.
Last year I had a stroke. It left me in bad shape, Clark said at the time. 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. Before the ball dropped, Clark added that he wouldn't have missed this for the world.
Even though Clark's annual celebration gave him the spotlight on the brightest day of the year, he was most well-known for his TV series, American Bandstand, which ran from 1957 to 1989. American Bandstand celebrated youth and popular music, giving Clark a chance to talk to young Americans about their music and dance tastes. Clark's first broadcast occurred on Aug. 5, 1957, where he interviewed a young Elvis Presley.
After Bandstand, Clark went on to host game shows, including Missing Links, The Challengers and The Object Is, and also co-hosted a show called Bloopers & Practical Jokes with Ed McMahon. More famously, Clark was the host of CBS's The $10,000 Pyramid and several radio programs, including The Dick Clark National Music Survey and Rock, Roll & Remember.
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Clark later earned his own shows, including The Dick Clark Show and a variety show called Dick Clark's World of Talent. Later in his life, he co-hosted a rival to The View called The Other Half, and he also helped produce the series American Dreams, which was a drama series about a Philadelphia family whose daughter appeared as a regular in American Bandstand, which ran from 2002 to 2005.
Clark will be sorely missed by all, and he leaves behind his third wife and widow, Kari Wigton, whom he married in 1977. Clark also leaves behind three children, including Richard, Duane and Cindy.
View the slideshow above, which has pictures from Dick Clark's life, from his early days on American Bandstand, to his later days hosting New Year's Rockin' Eve. Feel free to leave your impressions or thoughts in the comments section below.
Rest in Peace, Dick. So long.