Dick Clark, the ever-youthful television host and producer who helped bring rock 'n' roll into the mainstream on "American Bandstand" and rang in the New Year for the masses at Times Square, has died. He was 82.
"I grew up with Dick Clark," Linda Hartman, 64, of York Township. "I watched American Bandstand every weekend. We used to dance to the television. I looked forward to seeing him every New Year's Eve. There will never be another Dick Clark."
Spokesman Paul Shefrin said Clark had a heart attack Wednesday morning at Saint John's hospital in Santa Monica, where he had gone the day before for an outpatient procedure.
Clark had continued performing even after he suffered a stroke in 2004 that affected his ability to speak and walk.
Long dubbed "the world's oldest teenager" because of his boyish appearance, Clark bridged the rebellious new music scene and traditional show business, and equally comfortable whether chatting about music with Sam Cooke or bantering with Ed McMahon about TV bloopers. He long championed black singers by playing the original R&B versions of popular songs, rather than the pop cover.
Ron Adams, 67, of Lower Windsor Township, said he made sure he watched American Bandstand to see Dick Clark, the entertainers and especially the dancers.
"My sister would go to American Bandstand," he said. We could see her on TV. It was a big deal. When you talk about the entertainment we had in those days, (Clark) started it all. It's different now. Those days will never be again."
James Tufarolo, president of San Carlos in Manchester Township, said he considers Clark a pioneer of the music video industry that involves people viewing singing and dancing on screen.
Clark's entertainment work opened the door for current singing competition shows like "American Idol" and "The Voice," which involves young people musically expressing themselves on television, Tufarolo added.
"(Clark) was an original," he said. "He was the first to present that type of entertainment on TV."Clark thrived as the founder of Dick Clark Productions, supplying movies, game and music shows, beauty contests and more to TV. Among his credits: "The $25,000 Pyramid," "TV's Bloopers and Practical Jokes" and the American Music Awards.
Diane Dowdell, 51, of York Township, said she learned how to dance from watching American Bandstand. She said that though Clark will mainly be remembered for the dance show, she admired how he branched out to do other programs to entertain America.
"My mom was a big fan of the bloopers show," said Diane Dowdell, 51, of York Township. "We watched the New Year's Eve programs. He'll be missed. It was fun to watch him."