LOS ANGELES – At 76 years old, "America's oldest teenager" made a jovial yet touching appearance during a special Emmys tribute Sunday.
Dick Clark, still recuperating from a 2004 stroke, seemed moved by the warm standing ovation he received, then regaled the crowd with his old smile and self-deprecating jokes.
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"Please, sit down," he said, faking a grimace and tapping his left wrist as if pointing to his watch. "Please, the producer will have a fit. You've got to sit down."
Dressed in a tuxedo, his face finally showing the passage of time, Clark sat on a stool behind a podium and joked about a request he received from Emmy producers that he "walk out" onto the Shrine Auditorium stage.
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"I've just begun to learn to walk again and the show might run a little long," Clark said.
Clark spoke with a slur but embellished his appearance by gesturing with his arms and hands, slapping old friend Barry Manilow on the back after the singer serenaded Clark with "Bandstand Boogie."
It was Clark's first TV appearance since co-hosting "New Year's Rockin' Eve" last December. He had a stroke in December 2004 and was hospitalized for more than seven weeks.
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"Before I had my stroke I was thinking about all of things I've been involved with all of my life -- music, comedy, drama, even talk shows, even reality TV," Clark told the crowd. "And I realized that I have accomplished my childhood dream to be in show business. Everybody should be so lucky to have their dreams come true."
Before Clark was introduced, "American Idol" judge Simon Cowell showed clips from Clark's TV career, including several decades of "American Bandstand," which started in the 1950s. The clips showed a seemingly ageless Clark introducing acts ranging from Neil Diamond to Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson to Madonna.
"Music is the soundtrack of our lives," Clark said. "Thank you for being a part of my life."