'Bandstand's' Dick Clark recovering

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Nearly two years after a stroke, "American Bandstand" icon Dick Clark recounted Monday the stunning moment he realized his right side was paralyzed.

"It was a complete surprise," Clark told The Associated Press in a telephone interview after his daily two-hour therapy session, which he said left him feeling "pooped."

Clark, who turns 77 next week, knew there was something wrong when he awakened on Dec. 6, 2004.

"I woke up in the morning and my right side didn't work. I thought a dog had slept on my side," said Clark, who sounded upbeat and could be clearly understood. "My wife said, 'I think you had a stroke,' and she drove me to the hospital."

Doctors at Burbank's Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center kept him hospitalized for weeks. Rehabilitation therapy sessions have continued ever since.

"Your life changes overnight," he said.

Recently, Clark has been busy promoting the Dec. 5 and 6 auction of his memorabilia at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City. The self-professed pack rat plans to attend.

"I keep everything. It's one of my problems. I'm a saver," Clark said.

Throughout his rehabilitation, Clark's devoted wife, Kari, has been at his side, as she has throughout their marriage.

"She's one of a kind, thank God," Clark said.

"I am happy that I'm alive, that I'm reasonably well," he continued. "I'm sad that I'm impaired with my walking and my speech is impaired. But I'm happy."

Besides preparing for a Thanksgiving Day meal for 18 of her relatives, Kari Clark was also organizing Tuesday evening's "American Music Awards" after-party. Clark, who has produced that show for decades, said he almost considers it one of his children.

"I watch it," Clark said. "Sure, I'm interested. I created that thing 34 years ago. You can't just dismiss it (from your life)."

He's also produced the "Academy of Country Music Awards" and "Golden Globe Awards" shows for years,

Next month's auction includes some prized mementos from Clark's classic "American Bandstand," including the microphone he used on July 9, 1956, when he kicked off the rock 'n' roll show that made him famous.

Arlan Ettinger, the president of Guernsey's auction house, expects it will fetch between $10,000 and $100,000.

Other items on the block include a bass guitar that Paul McCartney played when he was a Beatle, a Michael Jackson beaded glove and the harmonica that Bob Dylan played in "The Last Waltz."

Clark has a 28,000 square foot warehouse full of stuff.

"I didn't want to get rid of any of it. But there comes a time to clean the closet," Clark said, adding there had been some thought to creating a Dick Clark Museum. "Nothing ever came to fruit."

Much of the auction profits will go to the T.J. Martell Foundation, which was founded by the music industry to raise money for research on cancer and AIDS, Ettinger said.
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