Roy Clark, Country Music Legend and 'Hee Haw' Host Dead at 85

Roy Clark, country music star, dies at age 85

Roy Clark, Country Music Legend and 'Hee Haw' Host Dead at 85

Clark, a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry, was beloved by generations of fans for his work on the TV show Hee Haw, which he joined in 1969, acting as joyful co-host for almost a quarter century.

Hee Haw co-hosts Roy Clark, right, and Buck Owens, pictured on November 26, 1969. First airing from 1969-1971, and again in syndication from 1971-1993, Hee Haw became an iconic country music touchstone, and more than 600 episodes of the show were produced in total.

While Clark often performed with the banjo, fiddle and mandolin, he was best known for his brilliance on the guitar. Many others would follow the example of Roy Clark Celebrity Theatre.

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

In the 1950s, Clark played in bands in the Washington, D.C., area.

In October 2000, he was inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame, and he was actively involved with school children who attend the Roy Clark Elementary School in Tulsa, Okla.

Clark also was a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

Clark was a trailblazer, becoming one of the first country performers to open a theater in Branson, Missouri.

Throughout the '60s, Clark recorded several albums, toured constantly, and appeared on TV variety shows from Carson to Mike Douglas to Flip Wilson. In 1960, he got the chance to front the band of country singer Wanda Jackson. Mr. Clark served as a host for its full run, while Owens - who later dismissed the program as a "cartoon donkey" - left in 1986.

"We became a part of the family".

"This was the icing on the cake".

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