Country Chatter

Roy Clark, Legendary Country Guitarist and ‘Hee Haw’ Star, Dies at 85

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Roy Clark, Country Music Hall of Fame and Grand Ole Opry member, Grammy, ACM and CMA award winner and co-host of the “Hee Haw” television series, died on Thursday due to complications from pneumonia at home in Tulsa, Okla. He was 85.

Clark is best known for his role on the TV show, “Hee Haw,” which was filmed in Nashville and debuted in 1969. Co-starring Clark and Buck Owens, it was an immediate hit. Though CBS canceled the show after two-and-a-half years, despite ranking in the Top 20, the series segued into syndication, where it remained until 1992. “I long ago realized it was not a figure of speech when people come up to me and say they grew up watching me since they were ‘that big’.”

The show launched him into stardom, and through his career he had 23 Top 40 country hits, including “The Tips Of My Fingers,” “I Never Picked Cotton,” “Thank God And Greyhound You’re Gone,” “Somewhere Between Love And Tomorrow” and “If I Had It To Do All Over Again.”

Clark called Tulsa his home, where he moved in 1974 with his wife Barbara, and continued to tour extensively. “Soon as you hit the edge of the stage and see people smiling and know they’re there to hear you, it’s time to have fun,” he had said. “I keep a band of great young people around me, and we’re not musically restrained. It’s not about ‘let’s do it correct’ but ‘let’s do it right.’”

He was one of the few artists with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame, and who had performed at the Grand Ole Opry and Carnegie Hall.

“Roy Clark made best use of his incredible talent. He was both a showman and a virtuoso, with a love of music that beamed across air waves and into millions of living rooms, where families gathered to watch and listen,” Country Music Hall of Fame CEO Kyle Young said.

Clark is survived by Barbara, his wife of 61 years, his sons Roy Clark II and wife Karen, Dr. Michael Meyer and wife Robin, Terry Lee Meyer, Susan Mosier and Diane Stewart, and his grandchildren: Scott Fearington, Brittany Meyer, Michael Meyer, Caleb Clark, Josiah Clark and his sister, Susan Coryell.

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