(AP/RNN) - A publicist said country star Roy Clark, the guitar virtuoso and singer who headlined the country music-filled variety TV show “Hee Haw” for nearly a quarter century, has died.
Jeremy Westby said Clark died Thursday due to complications from pneumonia at home in Tulsa, Okla.
Clark was “Hee Haw” host or co-host for its entire 24-year run. He shared hosting duties with Buck Owens for much of the show’s run.
The country music and comedy show’s last new episode aired in 1993, though reruns continued for a few years thereafter.
In “Hee Haw,” not only did he host, he also performed music and took part in comedic skits.
He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2009. Clark also earned seven CMA Awards over his decades-long career, including the Entertainer of the Year Award in 1973. His version of “Alabama Jubilee” earned him a Grammy in 1982.
Clark played the guitar, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, harmonica and other instruments. His skills brought him gigs as guest performer with many top orchestras, including the Boston Pops.
Clark also served as guest host to “Tonight Show,” made appearances on “The Beverly Hillbillies” and, in 1976, was one of the first country stars to tour in the Soviet Union.
He also made an appearance in a movie “Uphill All the Way.”
He was born April 15, 1933, in Meherrin, VA, and according to the Country Music Hall of Fame, he was born into a musical family, performing with his father.
Clark briefly became a boxer at age 17, winning 15 fights in a row before hanging up his gloves.
By age 20, he was an up-and-coming star, touring with Grandpa Jones and briefly appearing on a show lead by Hank Williams and a D.C. based TV show “Country Style.” He then appeared on Connie B. Gay’s local Town and Country Time radio and TV broadcasts.
Clark joined Wanda Jackson’s band in 1960 and toured nationwide, which helped propel his career.
He signed with Capitol Records, which released his album, “The Lightning Fingers of Roy Clark,” in 1962. His single, “Tips of My Fingers,” made it to the top 10 of the country chart while reaching no. 45 on the Billboard chart.
Clark is also known for the hits “Yesterday, When I Was Young,” “I Never Picked Cotton,” “Thank God and Greyhound” and “The Lawrence Welk-Hee Haw Counter-Revolution Polka.”