'Hee Haw' and Country Music Star Roy Clark Dies at 85

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His publicist told CNN that the performer passed away Thursday in his Tulsa, Oklahoma, home of complications from pneumonia. With Hee Haw as a platform, Clark became something of a spokesperson for the then-burgeoning genre.

Baseball legend Mickey Mantle, a longtime fan and friend of Clark's, requested that Clark perform "Yesterday, When I Was Young" at his funeral, a promise Clark kept when Mantle died in 1995. In 1960, he got the chance to front the band of country singer Wanda Jackson.

Additionally, Clark was a frequent guest host for Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show.

Clark worked with fellow country musicians for more than half a century, from Hank Williams to Brad Paisley and countless others who either made their way into a "Hee Haw" skit or the stage at the Grand Ole Opry. Clark died on November 15, 2018 at the age of 85.

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Clark won the Country Music Association's Entertainer of the Year Award in 1973, and piled up award over the next decade both as a solo artist and with Buck Trent.

His hits include songs like "Come Live With Me", "The Tips of My Fingers" and "Yesterday When I Was Young". The country music and comedy show's last episode aired in 1993. His rendition of "Alabama Jubilee" was awarded a Grammy for Best Country Instrumental Performance in 1982. 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 unbelievable musical skills that will be his legacy, as he proved with regular performances at his theater in Branson throughout the nineties and 'aughts. Clark signed with Capitol Records in 1963 and scored several top 10 hits on the country charts.

The legendary Jimmy Dean noticed the talented young Clark and hired him to play on radio and TV in the Washington, D.C. area. Owens, who left the show in 1986, later referred to it as a "cartoon donkey", one he endured for "that big paycheck". The viewers were sort of part owners of the show.

Clark said the hour-long program of country music and corny jokes capped off his career. This put my face and name together'.

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