Longtime television host Dick Clark, who appeared on the "New Year's Rockin' Eve" program from Times Square for nearly four decades, died Wednesday at age 82 in California following a massive heart attack.
Known as "America's oldest teenager," Clark kept his uncanny boyish looks for years and hosted “American Bandstand" from the early 1950s until the show ended in 1989.
The definitive dance party show was initially broadcast from a studio in Philadelphia. During its three-decade run, the show showcased the biggest acts in mainstream rock 'n roll, from Buddy Holly, to the Jackson Five featuring Michael Jackson to Madonna.
Clark introduced many of the acts to TV audiences for the first time, and for playing such an integral part in music history he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame.
Starting in 1972, Clark hosted live coverage from Times Square counting down the New Year's Eve ball dropping. He suffered a stroke in 2004, but was back on the New Year's show in 2006, with impaired speech, still doing the countdown.
Clark was also famous for hosting the game show "The $10,000 Pyramid," which eventually became "The $100,000 Pyramid," and hosted and produced "TV's Bloopers And Practical Jokes" with Ed McMahon.
He was also a businessman, producing lots of TV shows including the Golden Globe Awards, which he brought to national and international prominence.
A spokesman says Clark had a heart attack Wednesday morning at a hospital in Santa Monica, Calif., where he went on Tuesday for an outpatient procedure.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a Wednesday statement, “Times Square is considered the crossroads of the world in no small part because Dick Clark’s New Year's Eve celebrations there were beamed across the globe. I remember one New Year's Eve, he and I stood in Times Square marveling about how much the area – and the City – had improved over the years. But Dick Clark never had to change – he was a great entertainer who stood the test of time."
Times Square Alliance & Countdown Entertainment, which co-produces the New Year's broadcast, also gave condolences to Clark’s family in a statement and said Clark would be remembered during the future years' broadcasts.
In Hollywood, a wreath was laid at Dick Clark's star on the Walk of Fame on Wednesday.