Apr 192012

Dick Clark, the television host, producer, CEO, restaurateur, concert promoter and real estate investor who helped bring rock music into the mainstream on “American Bandstand” and rang in the New Year for the masses at Times Square, died yesterday of a heart attack.  He was 82.

Clark, who for a time in the 1980s was counted among the Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest Americans, left behind an estate worth hundreds of millions of dollars.  Described as a “workaholic,” Clark hosted television shows on all the major television networks, including such hits as the $20,000 Pyramid, New Year’s Rockin’ Eve and, of course, American Bandstand.  All the while, he promoted 100s of concerts and hosted several radio shows.

Clark also pioneered unique business approaches for the day, including the idea that a public company could be formed around a single entertainer’s personal appeal.  By the time it went public in 1987, his company Dick Clark Productions employed several thousand individuals, launched a restaurant chain with Clark’s name on it, and ran a communications promotion business.   Revenue exceeded $100 million a year and the company was profitable.  In 2002, Clark steered the company back to a private third party buyer for a price tag of $140 million.  The company was again sold in 2007 for $175 million.

Besides his entertainment interests Clark also invested in real estate, including multiple properties in Malibu California.

Clark is speculated to have left behind an estate in the hundreds of millions of dollars.  However, if he engaged in effective estate planning, the public may never know the actual amount or the details of its distribution.  This is because Clark’s business and real estate holdings may have been placed in one or more business entities and trusts, which would work to keep the details private.  If Clark did not engage in estate planning, then the details may become a matter of public record through the probate court filings and Clark’s estate may join the nefarious ranks of the biggest celebrity estate planning disasters.