Clark started out in radio, getting a job in a radio-station mailroom as a teenager in 1945 and becoming a DJ a few years later. He began hosting the Philadelphia dance-part TV show Bob Horn’s Bandstand in 1956; a year later, it went national and changed its name to American Bandstand. The show went through various different incarnations, but it lasted until 1989, with Clark hosting the entire time.
In the late-’50s, Clark was one of the few music-industry figures to stand against the common practice of payola, and he’s one of the few who never faced criminal charges at the time. He began hosting the New Year’s special Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve in 1972; he continued for decades and made appearances up until this past year, even after suffering a stroke. He also created the American Music Awards, hosted game shows, and made a ton of appearances on TV and radio throughout his long career.