'Hee Haw' host Roy Clark dies

Roy Clark and Brad Paisley perform onstage at the 50th annual CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena

A publicist says country star Roy Clark, the guitar virtuoso and singer who headlined the TV show "Hee Haw" for almost a quarter century, has died.

Clark succumbed to complications from pneumonia at his home in Tulsa, Oklahoma, according to publicist Sandy Brokaw.

The guitarist and banjo player began his musical career as a young teen, making his first appearance at the Grand Ole Opry at age 17.

Co-hosts Buck Owens, left, and Roy Clark, right, perform with other cast members during a taping of "Hee Haw" in 1986 in Nashville, Tenn.

And of course, he also was a member of the Grand Ole Opry. The country music and comedy show aired in syndication for more than two decades, with Clark as host or co-host its entire run.

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But it was the guitar that gave Clark his career. I'm a firm believer in smiles. "But I've come to realize that a real honest smile is mighty powerful".

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.

In addition to being an affable TV host, Clark was also a skilled country musician himself.

In his 1994 autobiography, "My Life in Spite of Myself", he said "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".

At the end of each of his concerts, he would tell the audience, "We had to come, but you had a choice. Thanks for being here". Clark died on November 15, 2018 at the age of 85. Roy is survived by Barbara, 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.

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