Broadcast and entertainment legend Dick Clark passed away today (4/18) in Los Angeles following a heart attack, according to numerous reports. He was 82. The beloved host of the long-running American Bandstand, Clark’s contributions helped spread the popularity of rock & roll in the US and gave the world favorite TV shows like The 25,000 Pyramid and New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.
Born Richard Wagstaff Clark, he was also a savvy businessman whose empire extended to restaurants, film and played an important role in the development of country music. He launched his company Dick Clark Productions in 1957, which currently produces the Academy of Country Music Awards.
Clark’s relationship with the ACM spans over 40 years, dating back to 1965 when the organization was first trying to produce an awards show and get it televised.
“Dick stepped in and helped us get the show on TV, and actually hosted the show starting in 1969,” says ACM CEO Bob Romeo. “Eventually he became executive producer of the show. A relationship followed where the ACM entered into a contract with Dick Clark Productions to produce our Awards show.”
The relationship with the Clark family continues to this day, as the show’s executive producer role is now overseen by Dick’s son Richard A. (RAC) Clark II.
Romeo recalls the intimidation he felt over his first meeting with Clark.
“Before I became CEO I was chairman of the board for several years,” says Romeo. “When I was elected, one of my first duties was to go negotiate with Dick Clark on a new TV contract. Here I am, 30 years old, don’t know anything about the TV business and I’m going to walk in and have a meeting with Dick Clark. I’ll never forget the feeling. But Dick had the ability to just make me feel welcome and we talked through the issues and resolved a new deal. I felt in that moment that I had a lot to learn about the business and, you know what, I had some good teachers.”
More recently, the ACM entered into a contract with Dick Clark Productions as a full partner of the show. Earlier in 2012, the ACM, Dick Clark Productions and CBS renewed their association for another 10 years.
Curb Records founder and music industry veteran Mike Curb also had a longstanding association with Clark, and sent the following statement upon hearing the news.
“I had the opportunity to work with Dick Clark for 50 years, beginning when I wrote the theme for American Bandstand. He has clearly been the most important figure during my lifetime in the industry.”
The Dick Clark Productions official Twitter posted the following earlier:
“Dick Clark was a pioneer, entrepreneur, showman, icon, legend. The first to truly integrate music and TV. We will march on with his vision.”