Dick Clark, left, "was one of the greatest influences in my life,"… (ABC )
Ryan Seacrest has never been shy about naming Dick Clark as an inspiration, but in the wake of Clark's death Wednesday morning, the fellow TV host and producer elaborated on his mentor's influence.
"I am deeply saddened by the loss of my dear friend Dick Clark. He has truly been one of the greatest influences in my life. I idolized him from the start, and I was graced early on in my career with his generous advice and counsel," Seacrest said in a statement obtained by the Ministry.
Seacrest had stepped into some pretty big "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve" shoes after the show's namesake suffered a stroke in 2004 (Regis Philbin had picked up the reins in 2005 before Seacrest got the gig).
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"When I joined his show in 2006, it was a dream come true to work with him every New Year's Eve for the last six years. He was smart, charming, funny and always a true gentleman. I learned a great deal from him, and I'll always be indebted to him for his faith and support of me."
With Seacrest's E! and Bravo television portfolios, which include the juggernaut Kardashian franchises and "Shahs of Sunset," the "Americal Idol" host is something of a Dick Clark for the Twitter Age -- something that doesn't happen without a plan.
In 2004, when Seacrest was just building his nationally syndicated radio show, "On Air," he told The Times that Clark- and Merv Griffin-sized success was his goal.
"Just to be a presenter for hire is a lot of fun, but if you want to maintain longevity, the success is in equity. I wanted to have ownership," Seacrest said at the time, foreshadowing his current success, which clearly incorporates Clark's career as a blueprint.
Clark, Seacrest said Wednesday, "was a remarkable host and businessman and left a rich legacy to television audiences around the world.
"We will all miss him."
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