Texomans remember country music legend, 'Hee-Haw' host Roy Clark

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

Publicist Jeremy Westby said Clark died Thursday due to complications from pneumonia at home in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Clark was best known for hosting with Buck Owens the country comedy and music show Hee Haw. With Hee Haw as a platform, Clark became something of a spokesperson for the then-burgeoning genre. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2009 and was a longtime member of the Grand Ole Opry.

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. In 1960, he fronted Wanda Jackson's band, and two years later he landed his first label contract, with Capitol Records. He often had musical guests on the show including Johnny Cash, Garth Brooks and Loretta Lynn. "My first CMA memory is sitting on my living room floor watching Roy Clark tear it up", Urban tweeted.

One of the legends of country music, guitarist and singer Roy Clark, has died. In 1969, he achieved his first Top 20 Hit with "Yesterday, When I Was Young". 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. Though he was no slouch as a comedian, as Hee-Haw and appearances on The Odd Couple and The Beverly Hillbillies attest, it's ultimately his fantastic musical skills that will be his legacy, as he proved with regular performances at his theater in Branson throughout the nineties and 'aughts. He also performed regularly in Las Vegas.

Raised in Washington, he performed with jazz, rock and so-called "hillbilly" groups at local clubs, and appeared on singer Jimmy Dean's country television show before being fired for habitual tardiness, according to a 1984 account in The Washington Post. Mr. Clark served as a host for its full run, while Owens - who later dismissed the program as a "cartoon donkey" - left in 1986. "The viewers were sort of part owners of the show", he told the Associated Press in 2004.

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