Clay Cole was born on New Year's Day, 1938, in Youngstown, Ohio.
He became a television host and producer of his own Saturday night teen music show called "Rucker's Rumpus Room," which aired on WKBN-TV. This was in 1953 when he was only fifteen years old.
He came to New York City in 1957 and he worked as a page at NBC. He then became a production assistant on the quiz show "Twenty-One." In 1958 he continued his Saturday night TV legacy, launching the "Al Rucker and the Seven Teens" program on WJAR-TV in Providence, Rhode Island.
In 1959 he changed his professional name to Clay Cole and launched "The Clay Cole Show," which aired in New York City on WNTA and WPIX-TV from 1959 through 1968. The show was similar in style to "American Bandstand," with teenagers dancing to the current hits of the day. What set it apart from other similar shows was Clay's youth (he was 21), his engaging personality, his good looks, and his singing and dancing ability. The Rolling Stones made their first TV appearance on his show.
In 1960 Clay hosted a ten-day Christmas show at the Brooklyn Paramount Theater which featured many of the hottest names on the recording scene. They including Ray Charles, Bobby Rydell, Brenda Lee, Neil Sedaka, Dion, Bobby Vee, the Drifters, the Coasters, Johnny Burnette, the Delicates, and Jackie Wilson. The bandleader for that show was Bobby Vinton. It broke all existing records at the Brooklyn Paramount, out-performing all shows ever produced there from vaudeville, jazz (Duke Ellington) to all the Alan Freed shows.
Clay was among the few white performers invited to appear at Harlem's legendary Apollo Theater. He headlined three week-long revues which starred Fats Domino, Chubby Checker and Gladys Knight & the Pips.
In 1961, Clay appeared as himself in the film "Twist Around the Clock," which also starred Chubby and Dion.
In 1961 and 1962 he toured with "Clay Cole's Twista-rama," featuring the Capris, the Ronettes and the Delicates.
After the "Clay Cole Show" ended its successful ten-year run, Clay became a prolific TV writer, producer and performer.
In 1974 he starred in the very first HBO-produced music special entitled "Clay Cole's 20 Years of Rock and Roll," a two-hour event taped at Rockland Community College, and was also the co-host of the WABC-TV weekday program "AM New York."
He was involved in the production of over 3500 broadcast TV shows. Clay, along with David Susskind and Raysa Bonow, created and produced the very first primetime entertainment magazine "People" for the CBS network in 1979. He won two Emmy Awards as "producer of outstanding television programming" in 1981 and 1982 for the Joel Siegel Academy Awards special. Clay produced "The Discovery of Marilyn Monroe," "Play Bridge with Omar Sharif" and 365 segments of "This Day In Hollywood."
In 2002 Clay was writer, producer and director of the television special devoted to the 2002 Sanremo Music Festival in Italy, featuring Britney Spears, Destiny's Child, Alicia Keys, Shakira, Kylie Minogue and other international pop divas.
Clay currently lives on an island off of Cape Fear, North Carolina and is presently completing the writing of a book celebrating his exciting rock 'n' roll years.
In 2007 Clay Cole became a member of the nominating committee of the Hit Parade Hall of Fame.