Roy Clark, Country Music Legend and 'Hee Haw' Host Dead at 85

Roy Clark, Country Music Legend and 'Hee Haw' Host Dead at 85

Roy Clark, 'Hee Haw' host, dies at 85

Country star Roy Clark has died at age 85, from complications of pneumonia, according to his publicist.

Clark also enjoyed personal musical success throughout the 1960s, releasing hit singles like "Yesterday, When I Was Young". 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. First airing from 1969-1971, and again in syndication from 1971-1993, Hee Haw became an iconic country music touchstone, and more than 600 episodes of the show were produced in total.

"'Hee Haw' won't go away". CMA Awards host Brad Paisley, who performed with Clark at the CMAs two years ago, also posted on Twitter: "When the Nashville floods wiped out most of my guitars, Roy heard about it and showed up at a show and gave me one of his".

A skilled guitar and banjo player, Clark first found notoriety as an opening act for Hank Williams and Wanda Jackson.

Beginning in 1983, Clark operated the Roy Clark Celebrity Theatre in Branson, Missouri, and was one of the first country entertainers to open a theater there.

Clark was born April 15, 1933 in Meherrin, Virginia and grew up in Washington, D.C. He is survived by Barbara, his wife of 61 years, and their four sons.

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Additionally, Clark was a frequent guest host for Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show.

Not long after learning to pluck those strings, he began playing backup for his father at local square dances. The Yankees outfielder was moved to tears by "Yesterday When I Was Young" and for years made Clark promise to sing it at his memorial - a request granted after Mantle died in 1995.

Clark's career really took off in 1960 when he was invited to perform in Las Vegas. His rendition of "Alabama Jubilee" was awarded a Grammy for Best Country Instrumental Performance in 1982. Clark signed with Capitol Records in 1963 and scored several top 10 hits on the country charts.

Clark and Owens worked together for years, but they had very different feelings about "Hee Haw". Mr. Clark served as a host for its full run, while Owens - who later dismissed the program as a "cartoon donkey" - left in 1986.

"We became a part of the family".

'This was the icing on the cake.

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