entertainment

Dick Clark, rock's early 'Bandstand' leader, dies

Dan DeLuca, Sam Wood, Michael D. Schaffer, Inquirer Staff Writers

Updated: Thursday, April 19, 2012, 1:24 AM

Dick Clark, who became host of a successful Philadelphia dance show in 1956, took it to the nation the next year as "American Bandstand." Alumni still remember those moments. GLOBE PHOTOS / ZUMAPRESS.com

Dick Clark, who took a Philadelphia dance show nationwide and brought rock-and-roll into America's living rooms every weekday afternoon for decades, shaping tastes and making careers, died of a massive heart attack Wednesday morning in Los Angeles.

Dick Clark with Daryl Hall and John Oates in New York in 1983. (AP Photo/Dave Pickoff) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Dick Clark pauses on the set during a rehearsal for the Pennsylvania Lottery's 25th anniversary game show Thursday, March 6, 1997, in Philadelphia. The lottery is celebrating its anniversary with a show hosted by Clark that will air Saturday, March 8, 1997. (AP Photo/Tim Shaffer) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Dick Clark broadcasts New Year's festivities from Times Square in New York for ABC, Dec. 31, 1996. (AP Photo/Wally Santana) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Family Film Awards producer Dick Clark, left, and Charlton Heston, right, turn to cameras as they present the Lifetime Achievement Award to the legendary performer Bob Hope at his table during ceremonies Thursday, Aug. 22, 1996 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Susan Sterner) ASSOCIATED PRESS
From left, Dick Clark, executive producer for the "Family Film Awards," holds one, along with the star of "Rookie of the Year," Thomas Ian Nicholas, and the Emmy Award-winning star of "The Waltons," Richard Thomas, during the presentation of the final nominations for the first ever "Family Film Awards" in Beverly Hills, Calif., Tuesday, June 25, 1996. Winners of the awards will be announced during live presentation ceremonies on CBS, Thursday, Aug. 22, 1996.(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Dick Clark in New York in 1983. (AP Photo/Dave Pickoff) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Barry Manilow, right, joins Dick Clark on stage during a special Emmy tribute to Clark at the 58th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards Sunday, Aug. 27, 2006, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Barry Manilow, right, joins Dick Clark on stage during a special Emmy tribute to Clark at the 58th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards Sunday, Aug. 27, 2006, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Dick Clark, executive producer of the sixth annual Family Television Awards, speaks to attendees before the taping of the show in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2004. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Dick Clark, executive producer of the American Music Awards, greets singer Alicia Keys after her performance rehearsal for the 32nd Annual American Music Awards, Saturday, Nov. 13, 2004, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. The awards show is to be televised live on Sunday. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Producer Dick Clark directs singer Kelly Clarkson, center, and Nick Lachey to photographers after they announced nominees for the annual American Music Awards, Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2004, in Beverly Hills, Calif. The awards are to be presented Nov. 14. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Show host Reba McEntire, right, is joined by producer Dick Clark during the 39th annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Wednesday, May 26, 2004. (AP Photo/Joe Cavaretta) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Dixie Chicks members, left to right: Emily Erwin, Natalie Maines and Martie Deidel, watch as producer Dick Clark asks members of the media to back up , during a photo opportunity at the announcement of the 26th annual American Music Awards nominees Monday, Nov. 23, 1998 in Los Angeles. Twenty awards will be handed out Jan. 11 at the city's Shrine Auditorium during a three-hour ABC-TV special. (AP Photo/ Damian Dovarganes) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Dick Clark is shown in 1987. (AP Photo) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Diahann Carroll, Dick Clark, Robin Givens at United Negro College Fund reception on Oct. 15, 1986. (AP Photo) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Dick Clark is shown in 1985. (AP Photo/Nancy Kaye) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Executive producer Dick Clark welcoming former Mouseketeer Annette Funicello to the party in 1978 when ABC-TV presented "ABC's Silver Anniversary Celebration," a gala four-hour telecast. (AP Photo) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Gov. Ray Blanton of Tennessee poses with singers Johnny Cash and wife June Carter Cash after presenting a trophy to Cash for outstanding contributions to musical entertainment, during the American Music Awards, Feb. 1, 1977, in Los Angeles. The Cashes' young son John Carter Cash, holds the award. Television personality Dick Clark looks on at right. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Radio personalities, left to right, Dick Clark, Charles Osgood, Frank Stanton and Paul Harvey pose with their awards being inducted into the Emerson Radio Hall of Fame on June 6, 1990 in New York City. (AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Producer Dick Clark, left, talks with singer Rod Stewart during rehearsals, Friday, Nov. 12, 2004, for the American Music Awards in Los Angeles. The awards show will be held on Sunday. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Entertainer Dick Clark, right, meets with supporters after speaking about diabetes Thursday afternoon July 8, 1002 at Tampa General Hospital in Tampa, Fla. Clark recently disclosed he has type 2 diabetes. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) ASSOCIATED PRESS
From left, singer Troy Gentry, singer Eddie Montgomery, producer Dick Clark, singer Terri Clark and singer Brad Paisley are seen during the nomination announcement for the Academy of Country Music Awards in Los Angeles Wed., March 10, 2004. The awards show will be televised live from Las Vegas May 26. (AP Photo/Nick Ut) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Producer Dick Clark, left, and singer Rod Stewart talk as they pose for a photo during rehearsals for the 31st Annual American Music Awards, Friday, Nov. 14, 2003, in Los Angeles. The awards will be given on Sunday, Nov. 16, 2003, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Dick Clark, center, producer of the "American Music Awards," shares a laugh with show hosts the Osbourne Family from left, rocker Ozzy Osbourne; son Jack; Clark; daughter Kelly and wife Sharon before rehearsals for the show Saturday, Jan. 11, 2003, in Los Angeles. The awards, as selected by the American record-buying public, will be presented Monday, Jan. 13, on ABC. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Show producer Dick Clark greets singer Christina Aguilera during rehearsals for the American Music Awards, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2003, in Los Angeles. The show will air on Monday, Jan. 13. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Dick Clark looks over the American Music Awards script with singer Christina Aguilera, right, during rehearsals, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2003, in Los Angeles. The show airs Monday. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Members of the group Alabama present Dick Clark, center, with one of their guitars at the 37th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards Wednesday, May 22, 2002, in Los Angeles. From left to right are Jeff Cook, Randy Owen, Clark, Mark Herndon and Teddy Gentry. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Dick Clark takes questions during a news conference, Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2001, in Beverly Hills, Calif. Clark spoke about the $10 million lawsuit he filed Wednesday against Grammy Awards president C. Michael Greene for allegedly blacklisting performers who appear first on Clark's American Music Awards. (AP Photo/Kim D. Johnson) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, left, Jewel, center, and Dick Clark announce the nominations for the 29th annual American Music Awards Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2001, in Beverly Hills, Calif. The three-hour American Music Awards will be broadcast by ABC-TV on Jan. 9 from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Nick Ut) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Entertainers Emilio and Gloria Estefan, left, receive the National Music Foundation's 1993 Humanitarian Award for their efforts to help victims of Hurricane Andrew from music impresario Dick Clark, second right, and recording star John Secada, at the foundation's gala in Universal City, January 24, 1993. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Dick Clark is shown with his wife, Kari Wigton, as they arrive at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Los Angeles, Calif., Tuesday night, Jan. 12, 1993. Clark is to be inducted as a non-performing record-industry professional. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Host Dick Clark laughs with Miss USA Kelli McCarty of Liberal, Kansas, during the Miss Universe Pageant in Las Vegas, Nev., Friday, May 18, 1991. McCarty finished in the top six. (AP Photo/Bob Galbraith)
Radio personalities, left to right, Dick Clark, Charles Osgood, Frank Stanton and Paul Harvey pose with their awards after being inducted into the Emerson Radio Hall of Fame on June 6, 1990 in New York City. (AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler)
Miss Michigan Carole Gist, of Detroit, adjusts her crown while seated on the throne after being named Miss USA 1990 in Wichita, Kansas, Friday night, March 2, 1990. Standing at left is Dick Clark. (AP Photo/Cliff Schiappa) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Dick Clark, left, and Lou Rawls join together at Clark's Malibu home Wednesday, October 10, 1986 at a reception to announce details of the United Negro College Fund's 1986 Telethon, the "Lou Rawls Parade of Stars." The telethon, set to air in December, is held yearly to help educate some 45,000 students enrolled in 43 private colleges and universities supported by the Fund. (AP Photo/Lennox McLendon)
Dick Clark is shown on March 8, 1982. (AP Photo) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Dick Clark is shown with his dog Mort in March 8, 1982. (AP Photo/Lennox Mclendon) ASSOCIATED PRESS
As his wife Barbara Mallery looks on Dick Clark does a bit of kitchen policing at their new suburban home near Philadelphia, PA., July 26, 1960. (AP Photo)
Dick Clark, left, executive producer of the 32nd Annual American Music Awards, chats with performers Alicia Keys, center, and Usher following a rehearsal of their performance together, Saturday, Nov. 13, 2004, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. The awards show will be televised live on Sunday. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Actress Charlize Theron, left, and Dick Clark, executive producer of the 58th Annual Golden Globe Awards, announce that actor Al Pacino, not in photo, has been selected to receive the 2001 Cecil B. DeMille Award, during a news conference, Thursday, Nov. 16, 2000, in Beverly Hills, Calif. The DeMille Award will be presented to Pacino during the 58th Annual Golden Globe Awards broadcast Jan. 21 on NBC-TV during ceremonies at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Pacino was selected by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's board of directors. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Dick Clark, left, executive producer of the American Music Awards, gesturs towards the stage where singer Lenny Kravitz will perform the song "American Woman," during rehearsals at Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, Saturday, Jan. 15, 2000. Kravitz is nominated for Pop/Rock Favorite Male Artist. The show will be televised live Monday night on the ABC network. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Television disc jockey Dick Clark is seen surrounded by teen age fans in 1957, during a broadcast. (AP Photo) ASSOCIATED PRESS
** FILE ** "American Bandstand" icon Dick Clark speaks after receiving a special Emmy tribute at the 58th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards in this Aug. 27, 2006, file photo, in Los Angeles. Nearly two years after a stroke, Clark recounted the stunning moment he realized his right side was paralyzed, when he spoke to the Associated Press Monday, Nov. 20, 2006, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) ASSOCIATED PRESS
A mural honoring the "American Bandstand" show's 37 years on television is seen on Thursday, Aug. 2, 2007, in the former west Philadelphia studio where the show began. Chubby Checker, Connie Francis and other performers from the hit show danced on Thursday morning to dedicate the mural, created by the city's Mural Arts Program. (AP Photo/George Widman) ASSOCIATED PRESS
A mural honoring the "American Bandstand" show's 37 years on television is seen on Thursday, Aug. 2, 2007, in the former west Philadelphia studio where the show began. Chubby Checker, Connie Francis and other performers from the hit show danced on Thursday morning to dedicate the mural, created by the city's Mural Arts Program. (AP Photo/George Widman) ASSOCIATED PRESS
R.A. Clark, son of American Bandstand fame Dick Clark, accepts the Jim Reeves International Award for is father during the first-ever ACM Honors, an evening dedicated to recognizing the special honorees and non-televised categories from the 43rd Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, which was held earlier this year, as they gathered at the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum, Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2008, in Nashville, Tenn. (Bill Waugh / AP Images for ACM) AP Images for ACM
American Bandstand disc jockey and television personality Dick Clark stands in background as teens dance during the show at the West Philadelphia television studio in this undated photo. (AP Photo) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Disc jockey television personality Dick Clark looks over some papers during an American Bandstand show in Philadelphia in this undated photo. (AP Photo) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Entertainer and former host, Dick Clark, left, chats with an unidentified person at the original American Bandstand studio in Philadelphia Tuesday, Aug. 5, 1997, on the 40th anniversary of the television show. Scholars say the show was a prime factor in in making rock 'n' roll so popular with teens in the '50s and '60s. (AP Photo/Dan Loh) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Entertainer and former host, Dick Clark chats with reporters at the original American Bandstand studio in Philadelphia Tuesday, Aug. 5, 1997, on the 40th anniversary of the television show. Scholars say the show was a prime factor in making rock 'n' roll popular with teens in the '50s and '60s. (AP Photo/Dan Loh) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Entertainer and former host Dick Clark, center, greets former dancers at the original American Bandstand studio in Philadelphia while Larry Giuliani, right, looks on, Tuesday, Aug. 5, 1997, on the 40th anniversary of the television show. Scholars say the show was a prime factor in making rock 'n' roll so popular with teens in the '50s and '60s. (AP Photo/Dan Loh) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Entertainer and former host Dick Clark, center with arms up, shows off a new street plaque as he is surrounded by friends and other dignitaries outside the original American Bandstand Studio in Philadelphia Tuesday, Aug. 5, 1997, on the 40th anniversary of "American Bandstand." Scholars say the show was a prime factor in making rock 'n' roll so popular with teens in the '50s and '60s. (AP Photo/Dan Loh) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Ryan Seacrest presents the American Bandstand Tribute at the 37th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards on Sunday, June 27, 2010, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Eric Jamison) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Susan Lucci, left, is seen with Chubby Checker as he performs during the the American Bandstand Tribute at the 37th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards on Sunday, June 27, 2010, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Eric Jamison) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Dick Clark, left, reacts as Ryan Seacrest looks on during the the American Bandstand Tribute at the 37th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards on Sunday, June 27, 2010, in Las Vegas. At right is Kari Wigton. (AP Photo/Eric Jamison) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Dick Clark, left, and Ryan Seacrest are seen during the the American Bandstand Tribute at the 37th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards on Sunday, June 27, 2010, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Eric Jamison) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Dick Clark, left, kisses Kari Wigton after the American Bandstand Tribute at the 37th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards on Sunday, June 27, 2010, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Eric Jamison) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Dick Clark, left, is seen with Kari Wigton after the American Bandstand Tribute at the 37th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards on Sunday, June 27, 2010, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Eric Jamison) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Tony Orlando, left, and Marie Osmond perform during the the American Bandstand Tribute at the 37th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards on Sunday, June 27, 2010, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Eric Jamison) ASSOCIATED PRESS
The Spinners performs during the the American Bandstand Tribute at the 37th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards on Sunday, June 27, 2010, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Eric Jamison) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Dick Clark, left, looks at Ryan Seacrest during the the American Bandstand Tribute at the 37th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards on Sunday, June 27, 2010, in Las Vegas. At right is Kari Clark. (AP Photo/Eric Jamison)
Bo Diddley's autographed guitar is among celebrity items on display during the press preview for the Dick Clark auction in New York, Wednesday Oct. 25, 2006. Dick Clark, whose 50-year career included host of the television teenage show "American Bandstand," is auctioning more than one thousand celebrity items in his collection for charity, at New York's Lincoln Center on Dec. 5 and 6. Photo at right shows Dick Clark. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Dick Clark, left, kisses Kari Clark after the American Bandstand Tribute at the 37th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards on Sunday, June 27, 2010, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Eric Jamison)
Dick Clark, left, reacts as Ryan Seacrest looks on during the the American Bandstand Tribute at the 37th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards on Sunday, June 27, 2010, in Las Vegas. At right is Kari Clark. (AP Photo/Eric Jamison)
Dick Clark, left, is seen with Kari Clark after the American Bandstand Tribute at the 37th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards on Sunday, June 27, 2010, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Eric Jamison)
Singers Cyndi Lauper, left, of 1980s and Little Richard of the 1950s find a common note to share during ceremonies honoring American Bandstand and its host, Dick Clark, at Chassens Restaurant, Monday, Sept. 15, 1987, Los Angeles, Calif. Scores of celebrities who were on the show turned out at the party where American Bandstand and Dick Clark received the first Guinness Supreme Achievement Award from the Guinness Book of World Records. The show is in its 35th consecutive year on television. (AP Photo/Lennox McLendon) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Johnny Mathis and Dick Clark are photographed at a party in Chasen's Restaurant in the Los Angeles to honor Clark's program " American Bandstand." September 11, 1987. (AP Photo)
Host of American Bandstand Dick Clark, left, and his guest Connie Francis are shown during taping of the show in Los Angeles, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 9, 1980. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon) ASSOCIATED PRESS
"American Bandstand" host Dick Clark is shown, Sept. 1978. (AP Photo) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Dick Clark instructs the audience prior to the taping of the Family Television Awards on Wednesday, July 31, 2002, in Beverly Hills, Calif. The ceremony will air Aug. 9 on ABC. (AP Photo/Krista Niles) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Little Richard, bottom right, performs "Good Golly Miss Molly" with support from Jane Wiedlin of the Go Go's and jazz bassist Stanley Clarke, top, during the "supergroup" finale of "American Bandstand's 50th...A Celebration," Sunday, April 21, 2002, at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, Calif. A variety of musicians including Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and Cher taped performances over the weekend for the television special, which is hosted by Dick Clark and scheduled to air on May 3rd. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Little Richard performs "Good Golly Miss Molly" with the Pointer Sisters providing backup vocals during the "supergroup" finale of "American Bandstand's 50th...A Celebration," Sunday, April 21, 2002, at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, Calif. A variety of musicians including Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and Cher taped performances over the weekend for the television special, which is hosted by Dick Clark and scheduled to air on May 3. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello) ASSOCIATED PRESS
"American Bandstand" host Dick Clark, left, has a word with Little Richard before the "supergroup" finale of "American Bandstand's 50th...A Celebration," Sunday, April 21, 2002, at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, Calif. A variety of musicians including Michael Jackson, Cher and Stevie Wonder taped performances over the weekend for the television special, which is scheduled to air on May 3rd. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Harry "K.C." Casey of K.C. and the Sunshine Band performs during the taping of "American Bandstand's 50th...A Celebration," Sunday, April 21, 2002, at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, Calif. A variety of musicians including Cher, Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson taped performances over the weekend for the television special, which is hosted by Dick Clark and scheduled to air on May 3rd. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Michael McKean, left, of the mock rock group Spinal Tap, and actor/musician Jim Belushi play along during the "supergroup" finale of "American Bandstand's 50th...A Celebration," Sunday, April 21, 2002, at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, Calif. A variety of musicians including Cher, Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder taped performances over the weekend for the television special, which is hosted by Dick Clark and scheduled to air on May 3rd. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Photo Gallery: Dick Clark 1929-2012

"The world's oldest teenager" was 82.

Mr. Clark, who had Type 2 diabetes, died at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, Calif., where he had gone Tuesday night for an outpatient procedure, according to a statement by his publicist.

"The King of the DJs died today, and his name was Dick Clark," Twist legend Chubby Checker said in a phone interview. An appearance on American Bandstand, the show Mr. Clark rode to stardom, was something very special for an aspiring singer.

"Being on Bandstand was like getting a Nobel Prize," Checker said. "From 3 o'clock in the afternoon until 5:30, nobody was on the street. They were watching Bandstand. Can you imagine that?"

Legendary Philadelphia DJ Jerry Blavat described Mr. Clark as a culture-changer. "He became the good-looking American guy who made rock-and-roll respectable, who transformed people's attitude to the music," Blavat said. "If it weren't for Dick Clark, a whole generation of people would never have gotten the opportunity they did."

The "oldest teenager" nickname came from Mr. Clark's easy rapport with his young audience, and from a clean-cut look that remained boyish until he suffered a stroke in December 2004 that slowed him down and slurred his speech.

But it didn't end his TV career. TV audiences knew him in recent years as the old trouper, valiantly struggling against his stroke-induced impairments, who ushered in each New Year - except the one right after his stroke - from Times Square in New York on Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve.

But long before that, Mr. Clark became Philadelphia's first national TV celebrity. In 1956, he took over as host of an already successful local dance show called Bandstand and made it even more successful, steering it onto network TV the following year as American Bandstand. His style was silky smooth as he bantered with young audience members, who assessed songs for their beat and danceability.

'Philadelphia was music'

The show would run for 30 years on ABC, with Mr. Clark hosting the entire time. It would also run briefly in syndication and on cable channel USA, although without Mr. Clark. He moved the show to Los Angeles in 1964. Until then, Checker said, "American Bandstand was Philadelphia, and Philadelphia was music. There was no other place on the planet. Ed Sullivan had a little taste. But it was really 46th and Market Street, and that was it. And Philadelphia should be proud."

Among the young dancers on Bandstand, a regular even before Mr. Clark arrived, was Blavat, who would go on to DJ fame in Philadelphia as "The Geator with the Heater." Blavat was loyal to previous host Bob Horn, and even picketed against Mr. Clark when he first came to the show.

"But I have to say, Dick won me over," Blavat said. "He told me, 'I want people who will be as loyal to me as you were to Bob.' I was his friend from then on."

Like Blavat, singer Bobby Rydell said Mr. Clark had a gift for inspiring friendship. "Ask him for anything, and he'd be there at the drop of a hat," Rydell said. "I've been his friend since I first played on Bandstand, in the summer of 1959. A lot of the guys who came from South Philly - Frankie Avalon, James Darren, Chubby Checker, myself - he meant a lot to us all. God bless him."

Kal Rudman, publisher of the music and broadcasting tip sheet The Friday Morning Quarterback, described Mr. Clark as a savvy entrepreneur:

"He was the rainmaker, he was the market maker, he was like the sultan of the whole damn world," said Rudman. "He had ears, and he was bright. He had tremendous power, and he had his test market right in front of him, the kids. . . . If the kids got up and really danced, or if everybody got up, that's how he knew he had a winner.

"Dick had that power. It was his reach. It got so big, and the cost of producing that show was so damn low. It was unbelievable. He had a virtually record-breaking run, no pun intended. He was a genius."

Where the Twist met the U.S.

Checker, who introduced the Twist to a national audience on Bandstand, recalled that he was just 16, and still known as Ernest Evans, when he first met Mr. Clark. "It was about two years before we did the Twist," recalled Checker, who said he last saw Mr. Clark in September.

"History was made the day Chubby Checker went on Bandstand with the Twist," Checker said. "Because with the Twist, you were looking at your girl, and she was looking at you. And the Twist did that. And it was all because of Dick Clark."

American Bandstand was the forerunner of all the music shows on TV that followed, Checker said, from Soul Train to MTV. "And dancing, as we know it today, is because of the way they danced on American Bandstand."

Philadelphia recording executives Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff called Mr. Clark "one of our inspirations for creating the 'Sound of Philadelphia' music brand. More importantly, we thank him for being one of the pioneers in promoting the Philly dance and music scene for the nation and world to enjoy."

Mr. Clark came to Philadelphia in 1952, and found a home in Drexel Hill (where he and TV personality Ed McMahon were neighbors) and a job on WFIL radio, then located at 46th and Market Streets.

"Radio and television were in the same building, and he was doing a lot of television commercials, too," recalled Lew Klein, then WFIL-TV general manager. "He did Tootsie Rolls, Barr's Jewelers, and commercials on the Paul Whiteman show. He had to compete for those jobs with other announcers, and he won a lot of auditions."

Klein said that ABC was reluctant at first to take Bandstand nationwide. "We worked hard to convince them," he recalled. "Finally, they said they'd give it a try, it's summer time, OK, fine. . . . The ABC people, I think, were humoring us. They put it on. Within about six weeks, it became a phenomenon. I think everyone was surprised. Everyone but us. And that's what launched Dick Clark as a national personality."

When Bandstand went national on ABC in 1957, it managed to make the sexually charged rhythms of emerging rock-and-roll acceptable to the mainstream. The host's wholesome image had much to do with that.

Critics would soon complain that the show overemphasized pop sounds. But it introduced the country to a racially diverse group of artists including Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, and Checker.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame

Mr. Clark's place in the music pantheon was recognized in 1993, when he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Beyond Bandstand, he was a major TV presence in front of and behind the cameras.

He hosted the game show $10,000 Pyramid from 1973 until 1985, by which time it had become $100,000 Pyramid. He was also host of one of the first comedy/reality shows, TV's Bloopers and Practical Jokes, later called simply Bloopers.

He produced awards shows that became must-see events for entertainment junkies, gossip aficionados, and fashion followers, including the American Music Awards, the Academy of Country Music Awards, and the Golden Globe Awards.

Richard Wagstaff Clark was born Nov. 30, 1929, in Mount Vernon, N.Y., and decided to make radio his career in the 10th grade. After graduating from high school, he got a summer job as an office boy at a station owned by his uncle and run by his father, WRUN-AM in Rome, N.Y., where he filled in for a vacationing weatherman and announced station breaks.

He entered Syracuse University, majoring in advertising with a minor in radio, and held a job at a country-music station in Syracuse in his senior year. After graduation, he got his first TV job, as a newscaster for WKTV in Utica, N.Y., using the name Dick Clay.

By 1952, he was Dick Clark, living here and working for WFIL. That summer, the station started experimenting with a new form: Radio announcers across the country were beginning to spin records over the air and fill in the space between platters with patter.

Among the early WFIL disc jockeys was Horn, whose show was so successful that WFIL tried the format on TV.

In what would come to be seen as a forerunner to music videos, teenagers were invited to dance in front of the cameras in an afternoon show called Bandstand.

The show was so popular that high school students across the city would rush home from classes to learn the latest dance steps, performed by peers who'd lined up outside the studio for hours for a chance to strut their stuff. But sometimes passing teenagers on the Market Street elevated line would throw debris at the queued-up dancers.

The girls on the dance floor wore angora sweaters and pleated skirts, or Catholic school uniforms of serge jumpers over blouses with Peter Pan collars. Before too long, girls around the country bought those same Peter Pan collars, not knowing they were part of a Catholic school uniform.

The boys were neatly attired in blazers, button-down shirts and ties, or V-neck sweaters and khakis. The camera zoomed in for close-up shots of jitterbugging feet in penny loafers and saddle shoes.

National debut, 1957

Visiting performers stopped by to lip-sync their records from a stage, and the dancers applauded from benches surrounding the bandstand. It hardly seemed subversive.

Mr. Clark filled in on the TV show for the vacationing Horn in 1955. When Horn was arrested the following year and charged with drunken driving, Mr. Clark was asked to replace him permanently. It was July 1956, and the boyish-looking host, then 26, projected the clean-cut image the local station desired.

On Aug. 5. 1957, American Bandstand had its first national broadcast, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. on ABC.

In early 1958, ABC gave Mr. Clark a coveted spot on the Saturday night lineup. Broadcast live from New York, The Dick Clark Show offered new acts as well as established ones.

Back in Philadelphia, Mr. Clark continued to invest in local record labels, and often featured artists from those labels on his show, which by 1959 was airing on 64 stations and averaging 20 million viewers daily.

That year, a Senate subcommittee investigated a form of bribery called payola, in which DJs were accepting illegal gifts in exchange for playing records. The senators looked into Mr. Clark's music-industry dealings and found he held 150 copyrights to songs and had interests in more than two dozen music businesses, from publishers to record pressers.

But the senators ruled he had done nothing illegal.

Asked by ABC to give up his business interests or leave the network, Mr. Clark sold the interests.

In the 1960s, Mr. Clark moved his Dick Clark Productions company to Los Angeles, where he produced Where the Action Is, hosted by Paul Revere and the Raiders (1965), and the annual American Music Awards, starting in 1972. The latter was conceived by young music executives as a hipper alternative to the Grammys.

In 1987, shares in Dick Clark Productions began trading publicly. The company produced a steady stream of TV series and films, including Celebrity Boxing, Greed, Donny and Marie, and The Weird Al Show.

Over the years, Mr. Clark made numerous cameo appearances in films, often playing himself (Confessions of a Dangerous Mind; Bowling for Columbine). In the first Spy Kids movie in 2001, he was a financier.

Mr. Clark is survived by his wife, Kari, whom he married in 1977. He had three children from two previous marriages: Richard Jr., Duane, and Cindy.

Contact staff writer Michael D. Schaffer at 215-854-2537 or mschaffer@phillynews.com. Inquirer staff writer John Timpane, former Inquirer staff writers Beth Gillin and Murray Dubin, and former TV critic Jonathan Storm prepared parts of this article.

Dan DeLuca, Sam Wood, Michael D. Schaffer, Inquirer Staff Writers

Read full story: Dick Clark, rock's early 'Bandstand' leader, dies