Courtesy of MCT
New Year’s Eve, the biggest party of the year and an indelible part of American culture, will never be the same, because the smiling face that welcomed numerous generations to the hope and promise of the new year will no longer be there to greet us. We lost that and so much more when Dick Clark passed away Wednesday.
“America’s oldest teenager” was one of the hardest working men in show business. For 34 years, he brought music to the people as the host of “American Bandstand.” Hundreds of artists were able to share their talents with the country through the help of Clark. Beginning with an interview of Elvis Presley for the show’s first live airing in 1957, “Bandstand” assumed its place in American pop culture.
Clark earned nine daytime Emmy Awards for his hosting. His work on the radio made him become host of “American Top 40” as well as the establishment of “The Dick Clark Radio Show.” The show was ahead of its time as it was one of the earliest attempts at radio syndication. Across multiple mediums, Clark was able to leave his mark.
In addition, Clark was there for 40 years to help welcome the nation to the New Year on “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.” I personally cannot remember a single New Year’s Eve celebration that did not include the tradition of watching the ball drop in Times Square with his voice there to narrate the action and bring the spectacle to our homes.
When a 2004 stroke severely limited his speech, Clark was there the next year to assume his familiar role overlooking the action in New York City. I could not imagine it any other way.
While at times he struggled, his speech noticeably improved every year to the point where he was close to assuming the same prominent role he had before the stroke. He approached this challenge with the same hard work he had used throughout his career.
President Barack Obama passed along this statement upon news of Clark’s passing: “More important than his groundbreaking achievements was the way he made us feel – as young and vibrant and optimistic as he was.” Through all the achievements, Clark brought the same youthful enthusiasm to each of his media ventures. Perhaps, more than anything else, that infectious, wonderful attitude is his ultimate legacy. He will be missed.
So long, Dick.