Country music veteran Roy Clark dies at 85

16 November, 2018, 02:28 | Author: Dominic Spencer
  • Roy Clark, country music star, dies at age 85

Jeremy Westby says Clark died Thursday due to complications from pneumonia at home in Tulsa, Okla. He hosted from when it premiered in 1969 to when it ended in 1997, appearing in hundreds of episodes, playing music and acting in comedy sketches and bits like the "Empty Arms Hotel" and "Pickin' and Grinnin.'" Hee Haw brought a rural sensibility to television, though it was popular all over the country.

While Clark often performed with the banjo, fiddle and mandolin, he was best known for his brilliance on the guitar.

Clark was born in Meherrin, Virginia, and received his first guitar on his 14th Christmas.


Clark went on to become a staple of Las Vegas showrooms and Atlantic City casinos 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. He often had musical guests on the show including Johnny Cash, Garth Brooks and Loretta Lynn. In 1969, his song "Yesterday, When I Was Young" became a hit on both the pop and country music charts; other major hits included "Come Live with Me" in 1973, and "Somewhere Between Love and Tomorrow".

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. In 1960, he got the chance to front the band of country singer Wanda Jackson. Owens, who left the show in 1986, later referred to it as a "cartoon donkey", one he endured for "that big paycheck". "The viewers were sort of part-owners of the show", he told the Associated Press in 2004.

Clark said the hour-long program of country music and corny jokes capped off his career. "This put my face and name together".

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