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Dick Clark Was Much Tougher Than We Thought

The oldest living teenager stayed at the party until the very end

By Gary Drevitch

But maybe, as we consider the drive that propelled this visibly damaged mogul to stand outside Times Square in the cold each Dec. 31, stroke be damned, and co-host the show that he had produced since 1972, we should re-evaluate our feelings about Clark. If the man who blithely hosted TV blooper reels for 20 years was indeed a fluffmeister, he was one with a tougher core than we thought. 

Clark's Type II diabetes was most likely a factor in his stroke, and he had worked to raise awareness of the link between diabetes, heart disease and stroke. He did not go public with his diagnosis of diabetes for several years, until, as he said in an interview with WebMD, "I heard the announcement that two-thirds of the people with diabetes die of heart disease or stroke and it seemed like a good idea to spread the word."

Clark could not avoid becoming a stroke patient himself, but as Jim Baranski, chief executive of the National Stroke Association, said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times this week, he quickly became a “champion” for the cause. “He told the world, 'It's OK. You can go on from this,'" Baranski said.


Why would he, or any of us, want to sit out the party?

Gary Drevitch was senior Web editor for Next Avenue's Caregiving and Health channels. Read More
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