Published: Fri, November 16, 2018
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

Roy Clark, 'Hee Haw' Host And Country Music Ambassador, Dies At 85

Roy Clark, 'Hee Haw' Host And Country Music Ambassador, Dies At 85

According to Variety, Clark passed away in his Tulsa, Okla. home following complications from pneumonia.

Clark was soon touring with country legend Hank Williams and first played the Grand Ole Opry in 1950, according to his publicist.

Clark was the host or co-host of "Hee Haw" from 1969 to 1992.

In addition to being an affable TV host, Clark was also a skilled country musician himself. He became skilled in all manner of stringed instruments, including the banjo, fiddle, and mandolin.

And of course, he also was a member of the Grand Ole Opry. 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 1982, Clark won a Grammy for best country instrumental performance for "Alabama Jubilee".

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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". Clark died on November 15, 2018 at the age of 85. "I keep a band of great young people around me, and we're not musically restrained".

Prior to Hee Haw, Clark was a frequent musical guest on some of TV's biggest variety shows, including American Bandstand and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.

Throughout Hee Haw's long run, Clark maintained his fruitful solo career, earning further Top Ten hits with "I Never Picked Cotton" and "If I Had It to Do All Over Again".

Clark's career really took off in 1960 when he was invited to perform in Las Vegas.

Clark became something of an ambassador for country music, not just in the US but internationally, appearing in locales as far-flung as the Soviet Union, where he did a groundbreaking tour in 1976. He got his first recording contract, with Capitol Records, in 1962.

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