Lew Klein, Pennsylvania television pioneer, dies

Dick Clark Bandstand_1560440494147

Lew Klein, an early executive producer of the American Bandstand speaks about Dick Clark during an interview, Thursday, April 19, 2012, in Jenkintown, Pa. Clark, who died Wednesday at the age of 82, hosted the wildly popular “American Bandstand” show at WFIL-TV in west Philadelphia in the 1950s and `60s. It became a cultural touchstone […]

PHILADELPHIA (WHTM) — Lew Klein, a Pennsylvania television pioneer who was executive producer of “American Bandstand” and other programs, has died at age 91.

Klein’s death on Wednesday was announced by Temple University, where he taught for 67 years. His name is on the university’s communication school, the Lew Klein College of Media and Communication.

Klein helped to launch “American Bandstand” and “Captain Noah and His Magical Ark,” a children’s television show broadcast to the Philadelphia area from 1967 to 1994.

He mentored hundreds of television professionals and helped to launch the careers of Dick Clark, actor Bob Saget, former television anchor Matt Lauer, and many others.

He also produced Philadelphia Phillies telecasts for 15 years and lured former players Richie Ashburn, Bill White and Tim McCarver into sportscasting careers.

“Lew Klein’s instrumental role in the development of broadcast television helped make Philadelphia known as a cultural hub,” Gov. Tom Wolf said. “In his role as executive producer of American Bandstand, Lew gave voice to a generation of youth. His assistance in creating Action News on 6ABC brought critical information into the homes of Philadelphians. He leaves behind a legacy as an educator and philanthropist at Temple University, and his contributions to broadcast television will not be forgotten.”

In a statement, the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters said it is devastated to learn of Klein’s passing.

“Lew was a titan within the broadcast community, having received every possible honor bestowed by the PAB, as well as leaving his own legacy in our annual Janet and Lew Klein Making a Difference Award,” PAB president Joe Conti said.

“He was a compassionate leader, tireless advocate, and mentor to generations of broadcast television and radio professionals through his tenure at Temple University.”

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