Roy Clark, Hee Haw Host, Dead at 85

He passed away at his home in Tulsa, Okla., due to complications from pneumonia, according to announcements from his publicists.

Clark also enjoyed personal musical success throughout the 1960s, releasing hit singles like "Yesterday, When I Was Young".

For 24 years, Clark was co-host the country music variety show 'Hee Haw.' He also made several gueat appearances as host of 'The Tonight Show'.

Inspired by "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, ' "Hee Haw" first aired 1969 as a show promoting country music and rural culture".

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".

Clark went on to become a staple of Vegas showrooms, helped turn Branson, Missouri, into a live music destination, and performed at leading venues such as Carnegie Hall in NY and the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, the country music mecca where he was enshrined as a member in 1987.

But Clark was a country star in his own right, and an incredibly accomplished (and often underrated) musician who earned acclaim for his hit instrumental versions of "Malaguena" and "Ghost Riders in the Sky". He became skilled in all manner of stringed instruments, including the banjo, fiddle, and mandolin.

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Clark played with the Boston Pops and other top orchestras.

In 1976, he became one of the first country stars to tour the Soviet Union, and in 1983 he was the first country star to open a theater in Branson, Missouri, according to USA Today.

Not long after learning to pluck those strings, he began playing backup for his father at local square dances.

Following Roy Clark's death on November 15, a star on his hit show "Hee Haw" has spoken out. "The viewers were sort of part owners of the show", he told the Associated Press in 2004.

Roy Linwood Clark was born in Meherrin, Virginia, on April 15, 1933, and grew up near a pig farm in Southeast Washington. With seven nominations throughout his career, Clark's recording of "Alabama Jubilee" won a Grammy Award in 1982. "They identified with these clowns, and we had good music".

New York Yankees icon Mickey Mantle loved the song so much he implored Clark to play it as his funeral, a request which the musician honored when the time came in 1995.

  • Michelle Webb