Dick Clark

Nicknamed "America's Oldest Living Teenager," Dick Clark's smooth charm and eternally youthful appearance made him one of America's best-known television personalities for decades. Still, Clark would never have achieved his amazing career longevity if he hadn't also been a remarkably astute businessman; whether he was producing television shows or spotlighting music and dance on his legendary show American Bandstand, Clark was a keenly perceptive trend-spotter with a sure feeling for the sort of mainstream entertainment the American public preferred. As a rock & roll figure, Clark played a major role in pushing the music toward respectability -- for better and worse. The clean-cut production values of American Bandstand, supported by Clark's own persona, made rock & roll (not to mention racially integrated dancing) seem less threatening to many adults, and provided significant national exposure for countless artists. On the other hand, Clark -- surprisingly, never a tremendous rock & roll fan himself -- also helped tame the wildness of early rock & roll by favoring more straight pop and teen idol fare, sending the music into a doldrums only salvaged by the British Invasion. In the long run, though, Clark's contributions far outweighed that aesthetic sin, and both he and American Bandstand became American institutions.

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