Can we please have a moment of silence for Dick Clark, a television icon and entrepreneur who passed away on April 18 after suffering a heart attack. He was 82. The ageless wunderkind was the host of the influential dance show American Bandstand, and celebrated the new year with television viewers in New York's Time Square on his New Year’s Rockin’ Eve specials.
During the early years of American Bandstand (circa the 1950s and '60s), Clark was instrumental in breaking racial barriers by giving African-American artists a forum to perform on national television. Among the artists who appeared on his show include Chuck Berry, Sam Cooke, Little Richard, James Brown, Stevie Wonder, The Jackson 5, the Supremes and others.
"I'm saddened and devastated over the loss of my dear friend, Dick Clark," said Motown Records founder Berry Gordy, Jr. in a statement (via Billboard). "We were friends for over 50 years. My thoughts and condolences go out to his family, especially his wonderful wife, Kari, who took such incredible care of him always."
"Dick was always there for me and Motown, even before there was a Motown," he continued. "He was an entrepreneur, a visionary and a major force in changing pop culture and ultimately influencing integration. It happened first emotionally. Music can do that. He didn't do it from a soap box, he just did it. That's who he was. 'American Bandstand' was a platform for all artists. For me personally, he helped bring Motown into living rooms across America."
'Dick did everything with class, style and integrity," Gordy concluded. "He was a true gentleman. His groundbreaking achievements in music and television ensure that his legacy will live on forever."
His entertainment company Dick Clark Productions produced a myriad of game shows, made-for-TV movies, beauty pageants and awards shows -- most notably, the American Music Awards, the Daytime Emmy Awards and the Golden Globe Awards.
Rest in Peace Dick Clark ... and thank you.
After the flipper, check out some of the greatest American Bandstand moments (IMHO).