Comic and multi-instrumentalist country music star Roy Clark has died at the age of 85. Known for his aw-shucks and happy manner the legendary singer was the host of the hit TV show "Hee Haw" for nearly a quarter century. He died on Thursday at his home in Tulsa, Oklahoma, due to complications from pneumonia.
With his co-host Buck Owens, Clark hosted "Hee Haw" show for the entirety of its 24-year run and aired until 1993. Reruns continued for years afterwards. In 2004, Clark told viewers of his shows recorded on VHS and DVD, "'Hee Haw' won't go away. It brings a smile to too many faces."
Clark played the guitar, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, harmonica, and other instruments. He performed with various orchestras, including the Boston Pops and headlined a tour of the Soviet Union. He was also a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Clark’s hit songs included, "The Tips of My Fingers" (1963), "Yesterday When I Was Young" (1969), "Come Live With Me" (1973) and "Honeymoon Feeling" (1974). He was also known for playing "Malaguena," on a 12-string guitar, as well as "Ghost Riders in the Sky."
In his 1994 autobiography, "My Life in Spite of Myself," Clark wrote, "Yesterday, When I Was Young" had "opened a lot of people's eyes not only to what I could do but to the whole fertile and still largely untapped field of country music, from the Glen Campbells and the Kenny Rogerses, right on through to the Garth Brookses and Vince Gills."
Starting in 1983, Clark was one of the first country music entertainers to open a facility in Branson, Missouri. He continued to tour into the late 2000s, playing at Carnegie Hall, the Sporting Club in Monte Carlo, the Grand Palace in Brussels, and the Rossiya Theatre in Moscow.
Born in Meherrin, Virginia, Clark got his first guitar at the age of 14. He began playing in his father’s square dance band at 15.