'Look at that man; he never ages': TV and music icon Dick Clark dies at 82

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Dick Clark, who shaped music tastes for generations with TV’s “American Bandstand,” delighted us in the afternoons with the well-watched $25,000 “Pyramid” game show, then gave the world a peek at Times Square craziness with his annual “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” specials, has died.

In a statement, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s agent Paul Shefrin said Clark passed this morning following a “massive heart attack.” He was 82.

A seemingly ageless TV presence whose memorable signoff was “For now, Dick Clark … so long,” he leaves behind decades of touchstone cultural moments.

“American Bandstand” was a tastemaker in the earliest days of rock ‘n’ roll, as Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry and Chubby Checker made signature appearances on the show. A move to Hollywood in 1963 led to the formation of Dick Clark Productions, and the creation of a string of hit television programs — from $25,000 “Pyramid” (which he hosted from 1973–88) to “TV’s Bloopers & Practical Jokes” to the American Music Awards. In 1972, Clark launched his New Year’s Eve program. And “Bandstand” continued into the age of MTV, featuring appearances by Janis Joplin, the Jackson 5, the Talking Heads and Prince among many others, between 1957-89 on ABC TV.

“There’s hardly any segment of the population that doesn’t see what I do,” Clark told the Associated Press in 1985. “It can be embarrassing. People come up to me and say, ‘I love your show,’ and I have no idea which one they’re talking about.”

His unchanging looks inspired both a nickname — “America’s Oldest Teenager” — and a joke in “Peggy Sue Gets Married,” the 1986 comedy starring Kathleen Turner as an unhappy wife and mother transported back to 1960. Watching Clark on a black and white TV set, she shakes her head in amazement: “Look at that man; he never ages.”

In fact, Clark only began to slow after a 2004 stroke, which left him partially paralyzed and struggling to speak. He missed but one edition of “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” however, before returning — though Ryan Seacrest was added as a second host.

According to the Museum of Broadcast Communications, Clark’s production company was responsible for some 7,500 hours of television programming — including more than 30 series and 250 specials, to go with 20 movies for theater and TV — including the Emmy-winning “The Woman Who Willed a Miracle” and “Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins.”

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