Roy Clark died Nov. 15 at the age of 85 due to complications from pneumonia at his home in Tulsa, Okla.
If anyone in the country realm could be termed “multimedia star,” the amiable singer/guitarist fit that bill. He won the CMA Entertainer of the Year honor in 1973, copped Grammy awards for his instrumental prowess, co-hosted the long-running Hee Haw variety show from 1969 to 1992 and broke international barriers as the first American performer in any genre to play for an audience in Russia. For his numerous musical contributions, Roy was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2009. He became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1987.
Roy was one of the world’s finest multi-instrumentalists, and one of the first cross-over artists to land singles on both the pop and country charts. And his talents turned Hee Haw into the longest-running syndicated show in television history.
Roy enjoyed his biggest chart hits, including the chart-topping “Come Live With Me,” just as Hee Haw was catching fire with the viewing public. Roy had 23 Top 40 country hits, among them eight Top 10s. Prior to Hee Haw, he had been known primarily as an outstanding musician who could also do comedy, evidenced by his frequent guest appearances on The Beverly Hillbillies. Hee Haw helped establish Roy as a recording star and multi-faceted entertainer.
But the bottom line for Roy Clark was the honest warmth he gave to his audiences. Bob Hope summed it up when he told Roy, “Your face is like a fireplace.”
Roy is survived by Barbara, his wife of 61 years, his sons Roy Clark II and wife Karen, Dr. Michael Meyer and wife Robin, Terry Lee Meyer, Susan Mosier and Diane Stewart, and his grandchildren: Brittany Meyer, Michael Meyer, Caleb Clark, Josiah Clark and his sister, Susan Coryell. Roy was preceded in death by his beloved grandson Elijah Clark who passed at the age of 14 on Sept. 24, 2018.
A memorial celebration will be held in the coming days in Tulsa, Okla., details forthcoming.
photo by Curtis Hilbun / AFF-USA.com