Published: Sat, November 17, 2018
Life&Culture | By Mildred Hamilton

Country music guitarist Roy Clark dies aged 85

Country music guitarist Roy Clark dies aged 85

Country music trailblazer and Hee Haw host Roy Clark has died at his home in Tulsa, Okla., his publicist confirmed to the Associated Press on Thursday. Six years later, he scored a second Top Ten hit with "Yesterday, When I Was Young", and became the co-host, with Buck Owens, of Hee Haw. (He also guest-hosted The Tonight Show multiple times in the "60s and '70s, and was a replacement host on Jimmy Dean's TV show Town and Country Time in the '50s.) Hee Haw featured performances from the elite of the country music community, including Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton, Tammy Wynette and Charley Pride".

The first instruments little Roy learned at an early age were the banjo and mandolin, but it was the guitar strings that touched his soul. "It brings a smile to too many faces", Clark said in 2004, when the show was distributed on VHS and DVD for the first time. Clark died on November 15, 2018 at the age of 85. Clark, a Country Music Hall of Fame member, was best known for his banjo pickin", guitar strummin' and "Hee Haw' hostin'.

Clark served as a host for the entire series, while Owens - who later dismissed the program as a "cartoon donkey" - left in 1986.

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Roy Linwood Clark was born in Meherrin, Virginia, on April 15, 1933, and grew up near a pig farm in Southeast Washington. Among his solo hits were "Yesterday When I Was Young", "Come Live With Me", "Honeymoon Feeling", and "The Tips of My Fingers".

"The camera was very kind to me, and I consider myself to be a television baby", Clark said in a 2009 interview.

Keith Urban, who won entertainer of the year Wednesday night from the Country Music Association, also honored Clark on Thursday.

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A source of corny jokes as well as musical flair, Clark frequently performed a "pickin' and grinnin' " routine, playing the guitar while maintaining a light comic patter he had developed in grade school as a means of getting out of trouble. In 1976 he headlined a tour of the Soviet Union, breaking boundaries that were usually closed to Americans.

"We became a part of the family".

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