Roy Clark, country guitar virtuoso, ‘Hee Haw’ star, has died

Nov 17, 2018, 01:35
Roy Clark, country guitar virtuoso, ‘Hee Haw’ star, has died

Roy Clark, country music legend and host of the nationally televised variety show Hee Haw, has died at the age of 85.

"Clark was a fixture in country fans" living rooms for almost a quarter-century, from 1969 to 1993, as the co-host of Hee Haw alongside Buck Owens. In the mid-'50s, Clark honed his television chops as a regular on Country Style, the D.C. -based television show hosted by Jimmy Dean, eventually taking over as host after Dean relocated to NY.

Clark worked with fellow country musicians for more than half a century, from Hank Williams to Brad Paisley and countless others who either made their way into a "Hee Haw" skit or the stage at the Grand Ole Opry.

"My first CMA memory is sitting on my living room floor watching Roy Clark tear it up".

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He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2009, and emotionally told the crowd how moving it was 'just to be associated yourself with the members of the Country Music Hall of Fame and imagine that your name will be said right along with all the list'. Owens, who left the show in 1986, later referred to it as a "cartoon donkey", one he endured for "that big paycheck".

Born April 15, 1933, in Meherrin, Virginia, Clark grew up in Washington, D.C., and was the pioneer who turned Branson, Missouri, into the live music capitol of the world.

In 1963, he had his first Top Ten hit with his somber version of Bill Anderson's "Tips of My Fingers". He started playing guitar at age 14, and a year later was performing in his father's square dance band. Shown between Owens and Clark is actor Ernest Borgnine, a guest on that episode.

Carl Vaughn lives in Whitesboro but also spent 20 years in the country music capital of Nashville, Tennessee.

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Clark won a Grammy Award for best country instrumental performance for the song "Alabama Jubilee" and earned seven Country Music Association awards including entertainer of the year and comedian of the year. "They identified with these clowns, and we had good music".

Amid the success of "Hee Haw", Clark toured the Soviet Union, bringing country behind the Iron Curtain in the mid-1970s, and starred in the Western comedy "Uphill All the Way" with singer Mel Tillis.

Hallman's rep Ruth Elkins said Clark remained passionate about music until his death. This put my face and name together'.

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