Dick Clark, Rock & Roll Benefactor, Dead At 82

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Television producer, idol maker, and eternal teenager Dick Clark has died today at the age of 82 from a massive heart attack, TMZ is reporting.

Clark's show American Bandstand helped foster rock and roll's development through its early years, and later he branched out into other television franchises and production work. His Dick Clark Productions was behind the American Music Awards, ACM Awards and Golden Globes, among many others.

Clark had been in ill health for some time, but continued to appear on the New Year's Rockin' Eve show broadcast from Times Square even up until last year. For the past several years, he co-hosted with American Idol's Ryan Seacrest after his stroke in 2004.

Clark took over as host of a program called Bandstand on local Philadelphia station WFIL (later WPVI) in 1956, and went national when ABC picked up the show and renamed it American Bandstand. On Clark's first show in syndication in August 1957, he interviewed a rising rock and roll star named Elvis Presley.

After that, Clark introduced literally thousands of performers until he stepped down in 1989. No doubt one of the strangest musical guests to appear on the show was Texas psychedelic rockers the Thirteenth Floor Elevators, when their song "You're Gonna Miss Me" grazed the lower regions of the pop charts in 1966.

This led to one of the best quotes in the show's history -- and maybe television history -- when Clark asked jug player Tommy Hall who the head Elevator was.

"We're all heads," Hall replied.

Since Clark's death, many people on Twitter have given the now-familiar reaction of wondering just who the hell this guy is.

Music Editor Chris Gray contributed to this report.

Follow Rocks Off on Facebook and on Twitter at @HPRocksOff.

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