The Mount Vernon, N.Y., native, who was born Richard Wagstaff Clark, became a breakout star after being tapped to host “American Bandstand,” an afternoon dance show for teenagers, which debuted nationally in 1957. Elvis Presley, Janis Joplin and the Jackson 5 were just some of the big acts featured on the hit show, though he reportedly regretted not booking The Beatles. Clark, went on to form his own production company and put out many popular shows, from the hidden camera series "TV's Bloopers and Practical Jokes" to game show "The $25,000 Pyramid." He also produced many TV award shows, including the Golden Globes.
In 1972, he hosted "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve" for the first time, helping Americans countdown to midnight as the ball dropped in New York's Times Square. He continued to helm the special until 2004 when he suffered a stroke that left him partially paralyzed and unable to speak. After Regis Philbin stood in for him the first year, Clark, who was also diabetic, passed the baton to "American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest and, after recovering, made an annual appearance to address the audience.