Country legend, television star and master instrumentalist Roy Clark died today at the age of 85. According to his publicist, Clark died on Thursday (Nov. 15) at his home in Tulsa, Oklahoma due to complications from pneumonia.
Roy Linwood Clark, a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, was known for his incredible picking skills and as one of the beloved hosts of the long-running television show "Hee Haw," which brought country music into homes nationwide.
Born in Meherrin, Virginia in 1933, Clark picked up the banjo and mandolin from an early age. However, it was the guitar that became his true passion.
In 1955, Clark became a regular on Jimmy Dean's television show. In his early career, the guitarist played with Opry star David "Stringbean" Akeman, rockabilly star Wanda Jackson and more.
His solo success came via his 1963 hit "Tips of My Fingers," written by Bill Anderson. He had continued success with songs like "Thank God and Greyhound," "Come Live With Me" and "Yesterday When I Was Young."
His role alongside Buck Owens on the variety show "Hee Haw" made him a household name, bringing comedy and country music into homes for over 20 years. His natural comedic ability made him a television favorite and he became a frequent guest on "The Tonight Show" and would have a recurring character on 'The Beverly Hillbillies."
Clark won the Country Music Association's Entertainer of the Year in 1973. The guitar virtuoso also won several CMA awards for Instrumentalist of the Year. In 1982, he won a Grammy award for Best Country Instrumentalist Performance for his recording of "Alabama Jubilee."
In 1983, Clark opened the Roy Clark Celebrity Theater in Branson, Missouri, becoming the first country star to have a venue there.
The country music star inspired countless future artists to learn guitar through his Big Note Guitar instructional books.
Clark was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2009.
Clark is survived by his wife of 61 years, Barbara, 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.