Roy Clark, country music star, dies at age 85

Roy Clark, country music star, dies at age 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.

Clark passed Thursday from pneumonia complications at his home in Tulsa, Okla. 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.

Clark played the guitar, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, harmonica and other instruments.

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But it was the guitar that gave Clark his career.

Born Roy Linwood Clark on April 15, 1933 in Meherrin, Va., he grew up mostly in Washington, D.C., and gained a love of all kinds of music early on.

Clark went on to become a staple of Las Vegas showrooms and Atlantic City casinos and performed at leading venues such as Carnegie Hall in NY and the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, the country music mecca where he was enshrined as a member in 1987.

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Clark was a staple on both radio and TV throughout the 1960s, performing on almost every variety show of that era.

According to the guitarist's biography at the Country Music Hall of Fame website, Clark was one of the first Americans artists who played in the then-Soviet Union in 1976.

Clark was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2009 and was best known for the song, "Yesterday When I Was Young", which was a crossover hit for him 1969. His father, who played in a square dance band, took him to see the National Symphony Orchestra and military bands. In 1960, he got the chance to front the band of country singer Wanda Jackson.

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Clark and Owens worked together for years, but they had very different feelings about "Hee Haw". The viewers were sort of part owners of the show. "This put my face and name together".

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