An American legend has died.
Dick Clark, who led American audiences through nationally-televised New Year's celebrations for so many years, suffered a massive heart attack Wednesday at St. John's Hospital in Los Angeles according to several national news sources.
Clark was 82.
Dick Clark created "New Years' Rockin' Eve", featuring a live show from New York's Times Square, in 1972, and hosted the annual event for nearly 30 years. In 2004, he suffered a stroke, and had to give hosting duties over to Ryan Seacrest.
Clark began a career in broadcasting during high school, working in the mailroom of a local radio station in New York state. Eventually becoming an announcer, he would find his way to WFIL, a network-affiliated radio and television giant in Philadelphia.
There, Clark became nationally famous, creating in 1956 what would later be called "American Bandstand", a show ultimately picked up by ABC Television and broadcast to the rest of the country.
A great YouTube compilation of American Bandstand is attached to this article for you to see.
The Huffington Post reports that Clark interviewed Elvis Presley for the first episode of that long-running show.
American Bandstand was my first memory of Dick Clark. My sister, fourteen-years-old at the time, found a way from our home in Summit, New Jersey to Philadelphia, and danced in the audience on one of the early shows.
Everything on television was black-and-white at the time, and we could barely get the over-the-air broadcast signal - cable tv was unheard of in those days - but the image of watching my sister dancing on American Bandstand stands out as clearly as any in my memory.
What are your memories of Dick Clark? Were you a stay-at-homer on New Year's Eve, just to catch his show? Did you ever watch American Bandstand? What did he mean to you? To American pop culture?
Let us know in your comments.