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

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

Country star Roy Clark, the guitar virtuoso and singer who headlined the cornpone TV show "Hee Haw" for almost a quarter century and was known for such hits as "Yesterday When I was Young" and "Honeymoon Feeling", has died.

The always smiling, fleet-fingered multi-instrumentalist was born in Virginia and raised in NY and Washington, D.C. After winning multiple guitar and banjo championships and appearing on the Grand Ole Opry as a teenager, Clark became a regular on Jimmy Dean's D.C-area TV show. 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. "If you're a bad person, people pick that up". He was a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry. After travelling and performing with various musical acts throughout the 1950s, Clark received his first major break when he appeared on The Tonight Show for the first time in the 1960s, followed by multiple turns as a guest star on The Beverly Hillbillies. He had hits Yesterday and When I Was Young. Every Saturday we'd watch 'Hee Haw.' My first guitar book was a Roy Clark guitar method.

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"Other Clark hits were 1963's "The Tips of My Fingers", 1973's" Come Live With Me", and 1974's "Honeymoon Feeling".

Roy Linwood Clark, the oldest of five children, was born on April 15, 1933, in Meherrin, Va., an unincorporated community in the central part of the state. 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. His recording of the country standard Alabama Jubilee won a Grammy Award for best country instrumental performance in 1983. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2009 and was a longtime member of the Grand Ole Opry. Over the years, he played at venues around the world: Carnegie Hall in NY, the Sporting Club in Monte Carlo, the Grand Palace in Brussels and the Rossiya Theatre in Moscow. In 1960, he fronted Wanda Jackson's band, and two years later he landed his first label contract, with Capitol Records.

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Clark said the hour-long program of country music and corny jokes capped off his career. "The viewers were sort of part-owners of the show", he told the Associated Press in 2004.

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