Veteran television personality Dick Clark dead at 82

Wed Apr 18, 2012 7:06pm EDT
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By Dan Whitcomb and Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Perennial New Year's Eve master of ceremonies and "American Bandstand" host Dick Clark, whose long-running television dance show helped rock 'n' roll win acceptance in mainstream America, died on Wednesday at age 82, a spokesman said.

Clark, one of America's best-known TV personalities and the longtime host of ABC's annual "New Year's Rockin' Eve" broadcast from Times Square in Manhattan, suffered a heart attack and died at Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California, publicist Paul Shefrin said.

Clark had entered the hospital on Tuesday night for what was supposed to have been an outpatient procedure, Shefrin said in a statement. He did not elaborate, except to say that attempts to resuscitate Clark after the heart attack were unsuccessful.

Starting out as a TV announcer in Utica, New York, Clark parlayed his "Bandstand" fame into a career as a host and producer of dozens of other shows, including the American Music Awards and Golden Globes broadcast.

His youthful good looks -- which he maintained into his 70s -- won him the nickname of "America's oldest teenager."

Clark's career slowed down after he suffered a stroke in December 2004 that sidelined him from the New Year's Eve show for the first time since he launched the annual broadcast in 1972.

But Clark gamely returned to the program the following year, and had continued since then to announce the annual countdown to midnight, despite his considerably slurred speech, in a somewhat revised format co-hosted with the much younger Ryan Seacrest of "American Idol" fame.

"I am deeply saddened by the loss of my dear friend, Dick Clark," Seacrest said in a Twitter post. "He has truly been one of the greatest influences in my life."   Continued...

The legendary Dick Clark celebrates 40 years of ringing in the New Year on the ABC Television Network, in Times Square, in New York, December 31, 2011. Clark has died of a heart attack, his publicist confirms, April 18, 2012. REUTERS/ABC/Ida Mae Astute/Handout