Raise your hand if you grew up watching Dick Clark‘s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve: The charismatic host, nicknamed “America’s Oldest Teenager” for his good looks, who managed to jibe well with each year’s performers and celebrities even in his advancing age. Unlike shows now that poke fun at older people not understanding the younger generation (coughBettyWhitecough), I never got the impression that Clark was out of his element in the four decades that he hosted the ball drop in Times Square.
With that in mind, it’s with a heavy heart that we announce that Dick Clark has passed away. He was undergoing an outpatient procedure in LA when he had a heart attack, and doctors were unable to resuscitate him. He was 82, which is a good long life for anyone—especially when you consider that he suffered a massive stroke in 2004 that forced him to relearn how to walk and talk.
I will say that after Clark returned to co-host the New Year’s Rockin’ Eve specials, it was always awkward to watch him sitting in the studio, stiffly attempting to banter with his co-host and eventual successor Ryan Seacrest. I wanted to tune in for those segments, but part of me wanted them to be over as quickly as possible. But with the hindsight of Clark’s death, I recognize how much it must have meant to him to say even those short words in the studio. He pioneered this program, and he saw it through.
At least we got to celebrate the 40th anniversary with Clark a few months ago. Now we’re stuck with Ryan Seacrest and whatever hodgepodge of celebrity correspondents he puts together each year. But we’ll finish this post with his catchphrase: “For now, Dick Clark… so long.”