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Dick Clark Dies at Age 82

Clark suffered from a massive heart attack Wednesday morning at a hospital in Santa Monica.

Dick Clark, the seemingly ageless television fixture who hosted American Bandstand and helped the nation celebrate New Year's Eve for nearly 40 years, died today in Santa Monica of a massive heart attack at age 82.

Affectionately known as "America's oldest teenager" for his perennially youthful looks and enthusiastic attitude, Clark went to last night for an "outpatient procedure," but suffered a "massive heart attack,'' publicist Paul Shefrin said.

"Attempts to resuscitate were unsuccessful," Shefrin said.

Famed for his hosting duties on American Bandstand and Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve, Clark suffered a stroke in 2004 that forced him largely out of the public eye, although he continued to make appearances on the New Year's Eve special alongside Ryan Seacrest. The 2004 stroke forced him to miss his New Year's Eve special for the first time since 1972.

His stroke came a year after he announced that he had Type 2 diabetes.

"I am deeply saddened by the loss of my dear friend Dick Clark," Seacrest wrote on his Twitter page. "He has truly been one of the greatest influences in my life. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.''

The New York native attended Syracuse University, where he majored in advertising. He also worked as a DJ at the campus radio station, a job that translated to paying gigs at other stations, including one owned by his father.

He moved on to become a television and radio anchorman in both New York and Philadelphia, where he worked at WFIL radio and eventually its television affiliate.

He became host of the local Philadelphia television show Bandstand in 1956.

One year later, he created Dick Clark Productions and took the show national on ABC as American Bandstand, which went on to become one of the longest-running variety shows in television history.

His company produces shows such as So You Think You Can Dance and awards broadcasts including the Golden Globes, American Music Awards and Academy of Country Music Awards.

Clark also hosted the Pyramid game series and TV's Bloopers and Practical Jokes. He has also hosted pageants such as Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA.

In 2006, Clark was honored at the Emmy Awards, and he reflected on his long show-business career.

"Before I had my stroke, I was thinking about all of the things I have become involved in over my life—music, comedy, drama, game and talk shows, even reality TV,'' he told the crowd at the Shrine Auditorium. "I now realize that I have accomplished my job and dream, to be in show business.

"Everybody should be so lucky to have their dreams come true,'' he said. "I've been truly blessed. I thank you very, very much."

One of Clark's Malibu homes was put up for sale in March, according to the Huffington Post.

He is survived by his wife, Kari Wigton, and has three children from two previous marriages.

There was no immediate word on funeral services.

Susan Tellem April 18, 2012 at 09:17 PM
I loved Dick Clark. I grew up in NY loving American Bandstand and even had tickets to his show when I was a pre-teen and teen drooling over Frankie Avalon and Fabian. He was always smiling and happy and was just a smart, great guy. RIP.

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