Country legend Roy Clark - the Grammy victor, Grand Ole Opry member, Country Music Hall of Fame inductee, and seven-time Country Music Association Awards recipient known for his guitar-picking virtuosity and longtime stint on the beloved country variety show Hee Haw - has died at age 85.
Clark died of complications from pneumonia at his home in Tulsa, Oklahoma, according to publicist Sandy Brokaw. 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.
Clark played with the Boston Pops and other top orchestras.
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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".
Roy Linwood Clark was born in Meherrin, Virginia, on April 15, 1933.
A country music star now gone, but never will be forgotten. Mr. Clark served as a host for its full run, while Owens - who later dismissed the program as a "cartoon donkey" - left in 1986. He had almost two-dozen Top 40 country hits, including "The Tip of My Fingers", "Yesterday, When I Was Young" and "I Never Picked Cotton". With seven nominations throughout his career, Clark's recording of "Alabama Jubilee" won a Grammy Award in 1982.
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Not long after learning to pluck those strings, he began playing backup for his father at local square dances.
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. "The viewers were sort of part-owners of the show", he told the Associated Press in 2004.
"I was subjected to different kinds of music before I ever played", said Clark. In 1976 he headlined a tour of the Soviet Union, breaking boundaries that were usually closed to Americans. "They identified with these clowns, and we had good music".
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"Roy Clark made best use of his incredible talent", said Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum CEO Kyle Young in a statement on Thursday morning.