'Hee Haw' star Roy Clark dead at 85

Posted November 17, 2018

Clark, a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry, was beloved by generations of fans for his work on the TV show Hee Haw, which he joined in 1969, acting as joyful co-host for almost a quarter century.

Clark died at the age of 85 his home in Tulsa, Oklahoma, due to complications caused by pneumonia, according to reports.

The always smiling, fleet-fingered multi-instrumentalist was born in Virginia and raised in NY and Washington, D.C. After winning multiple guitar and banjo championships and appearing on the Grand Ole Opry as a teenager, Clark became a regular on Jimmy Dean's D.C-area TV show. In 1969, he became the host of country comedy program Hee-Haw, a post he would hold for almost a quarter of a century, until the show's demise in 1993. He was just one of those people you would call a natural.

A country music star now gone, but never will be forgotten.

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Carl Seay lives in Texoma and enjoyed the entertainer that Roy Clark was, "he was just always a pleasure to be around and watch him because he always brought a smile to your face". He recorded hits like "The Tips Of My Fingers", "If I Had It To Do All Over Again" and "Thank God And Greyhound You're Gone".

But it was the guitar that gave Clark his career.

Inspired by "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, ' "Hee Haw" first aired 1969 as a show promoting country music and rural culture". In 1982 he was awarded a Grammy for best country instrumental performance, for Alabama Jubilee.

Clark was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2009 and was best known for the song, "Yesterday When I Was Young", which was a crossover hit for him 1969. Roy Clark died in Tulsa, OK on November 15, 2018.

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In August, 1983, Mr. Clark played a pivotal role in establishing Branson, Mo., a small town in the Ozark Mountains, as a tourist destination when he became the first major country star to open a music venue there, the 1,500-seat Roy Clark Celebrity Theater.

Clark was born in Meherrin, Virginia, and received his first guitar on his 14th Christmas.

In the 1950s, Clark played in bands in the Washington, D.C., area. He also performed regularly in Las Vegas. He got his first recording contract, with Capitol Records, in 1962. Clark told The Associated Press in 2004 that "Hee Haw" was like a family reunion.

Clark is survived by his wife of 61-years, Barbara, as well as his children and grandchildren.

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