Lew Klein, a broadcast pioneer who helped create “American Bandstand” and launched the careers of Dick Clark and Bob Saget, has died at 91.
Klein died Wednesday, according to Temple University, where he taught and mentored students for more than six decades.
Klein began working at WFIL-TV, now WPVI-TV, where he directed “Romper Room” and co-created “Captain Noah and His Magical Ark,” two popular children’s programs in the 1960s that attracted a bigger local audience than “Sesame Street.”
A native of Philadelphia, Klein served as executive producer of “American Bandstand,” the popular music performance and dance television show hosted by Clark, whose career he is credited with launching. Klein served on the board of Dick Clark Productions.
He spent 15 years producing telecasts for the Philadelphia Phillies and helped with the careers of players-turned-sportscasters including Richie Ashburn and Tim McCarver.
Only a couple years after he graduated with an English degree from the University of Pennsylvania, Klein started teaching at Temple and stayed at the school for more than 65 years.
In 2017, Temple renamed the College of Media and Communications in his honor. During a ceremony, which included remarks from comedian Saget, Klein said he was “so proud and very thankful” for the honor.
Kevin Negandhi, a sports anchor for ESPN’s “SportsCenter,” tweeted that Klein was a great role model.
“He was sharp. He was kind. His impact will be felt for generations,” he said.
Joe Conti, president of the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters, called Klein a “titan within the broadcast community.”
“He was a compassionate leader, tireless advocate and mentor to generations of broadcast television and radio professionals,” he said in an emailed statement.
Survivors include Klein’s wife, Janet; children Ellen and Stephen; granddaughter Anna and her husband, John; and great-grandchildren Oscar and Miriam. — (AP)