Dick Clark was an award-winning radio and television personality who worked in show business for over 50 years. He was also a New Year’s Eve staple on ABC from 1972 until 2004, when he suffered a stroke. He ceded hosting duties to Ryan Seacrest in 2006 and made guest appearances until his death in 2012. Here’s what you need to know about the legendary host’s death.
Clark Died of a Heart Attack in 2012
In April 2012, Clark’s agent Paul Shefrin told ABC News that Clark had died of a “massive heart attack” at the age of 82. But he had been working tirelessly up until then to recover from the 2004 stroke that left him partially paralyzed and made speaking difficult. But after taking a year off, he returned to New Year’s Eve as a guest every year until his death.
Seacrest, who took over as the main host after Clark’s stroke, issued an emotional statement when Clark passed.
“I am deeply saddened by the loss of my dear friend Dick Clark,” Seacrest said at the time. “He has truly been one of the greatest influences in my life. I idolized him from the start, and I was graced early on in my career with his generous advice and counsel. When I joined his show in 2006, it was a dream come true to work with him every New Year’s Eve for the last six years. He was smart, charming, funny and always a true gentleman. I learned a great deal from him, and I’ll always be indebted to him for his faith and support of me. He was a remarkable host and businessman and left a rich legacy to television audiences around the world. We will all miss him.”
ABC News reported that the Museum of Broadcast Communications totaled up what Dick Clark Productions did for television — it was more than 7,500 hours of programming, over 30 series and 250 specials.
“For more than half a century, Dick Clark brought the best of American music to audiences across the country, creating careers and countless fans for artists on his iconic shows, American Bandstand and New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” said Chairman and CEO for the Walt Disney Company Robert Iger in a statement. “We’re proud that ABC was home to those programs and will always be part of his legacy. On behalf of everyone at Disney and ABC, we send our sincere condolences to Dick’s family, as well as the three generations of fans who will miss him as much as we do.”
Clark Was Survived By Three Children and His Third Wife
Clark was married three times. His first marriage was to Barbara Mallery in 1952, which produced one son, Richard A. Clark. They divorced in 1961. Clark married Loretta Martin a year later and they had two children, Duane and Cindy. Clark and Martin divorced in 1971.
In 1977, Clark married Kari Wigton, whom he was married to until his death.
All of Dick Clark’s children followed in his footsteps and went to work in the entertainment industry in some capacity.
Richard Clark III produced shows for Dick Clark Productions called Puttin’ On the Hits and Puttin’ On the Kids. He told the Los Angeles Times in a 1086 interview that his father was the greatest teacher he ever knew.
“He is one of the best teachers I could ever think of. I mean, I went to school for all this, but I didn’t learn anything compared to what I learned from him,” said Clark, who graduated from Northwestern University with a radio/TV/film degree, adding, “When I first came out here, I bounced around just to see how other companies work. My father said, ‘The company will always be here for you. Why don’t you see how other people work?’ So, I took that advice and ran around the city for about four or five years.”
Duane Clark attended the UCLA Film School and went on to direct episodes of shows like Highlander, Dark Angel, The Practice, Boston Public, CSI, CSI: Miami, Hawaii Five-0, and MacGyver.
Cindy Clark has worked as a producer on a number of shows, including The Chase and The Curse of Oak Island.