Following a lifetime love and dream of broadcasting, Dick Clark took a temporary job as host of Bandstand in 1956. It became American Bandstand and went national on television later, and Clark became wildly famous as America’s oldest teenager.
Bridging a gap between traditional values and the 1950s rebellious rock and roll generation, Clark was a large influence on popular music. Bands became famous in a day, having played before a national audience on his show.
In the early 1960s, American Bandstand was a leader in the civil rights movement, allowing African-American teenagers to dance alongside white teens. Akin to breakthroughs in collegiate sports, this man and his weekly musical dance show influenced audiences and shaped popular culture.
As the 1960s ended, Clark ventured into game shows and New Year’s Eve celebrations.
His health deteriorated after the turn of the century, and in 2012, he suffered a massive heart attack and died.
He was an American pop culture institution.