Thursday, April 19, 2012

Presenterobit: Dick Clark

Dick Clark with his 1990 Grammy
image: Alan Light CC-BY

Dick Clark has died.

Clark is a strange figure - a massive, massive star in the US who barely registers in the UK, which feels like a category of celebrity which couldn't happen these days. Mind you, his lack of interest in Britain might have been based on a fundamental misunderstanding:
That started in radio and I learned it from Godfrey. Just be yourself. I’m of English heritage, the English are not known for a great sense of humor. Second only to the Germans, maybe. They don’t come by it natural. So all I could do was be myself. I did pretty well doing that.
As the host of American Bandstand, American radio's chart countdown show and, for decades, Dick Clark's Rockin' New Years Eve, Clark combined the roles of Jimmy Savile and Jools Holland.

Oh, and he was a restauranteur too - with American Bandstand themed diners, mainly at airports. And a businessman (he told Larry King that he owned all the Krispy Kreme franchises in the UK, and, as we know, he didn't really do jokes). And a producer - bringing the American Music Awards and Donny and Marie to television, amongst others.

It's arguable that he did nothing of any great consequence - doughnuts and Osmonds and burgers and "Mariah Carey at number one for a third week" and ringing in the new year - but he was the lubricant on which American pop culture ran for decades.

Dick Clark had been unwell for some time; he died from a heart attack during an outpatient procedure. He was 82.

[update: minor edit, changing 'could' to 'couldn't' - see the comments area for explanation]


Robin Carmody said...

"A category of celebrity which *couldn't* happen these days", shurely?

Simon Hayes Budgen said...

Thanks, Robin - you're quite right. Have corrected.

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