Roy Clark was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2009.
1995 published his autobiography, My Life — In Spite Of Myself.
Roy Linwood Clark (April 15, 1933 – November 15, 2018) an American singer and musician. He is best known for having hosted Hee Haw, a nationally televised country variety show, from 1969 to 1997. Clark was an important and influential figure in country music, both as a performer and in helping to popularize the genre.
Clark was born April 15, 1933, in Meherrin, Virginia, one of five children born to Hester Linwood Clark and Lillian Clark (Oliver). His father was a tobacco farmer. He spent his childhood in Meherrin and New York City, where his father moved the family to take jobs during the Great Depression. When Clark was 11 years old, his family moved to a home on 1st Street SE in the Washington Highlands neighborhood of Washington, D.C., after his father found work at the Washington Navy Yard.
Clark’s father was a semi-professional musician who played banjo, fiddle, and guitar, and his mother played piano. The first musical instrument Clark ever played was a four-string cigar box with a ukulele neck attached to it, which he picked up in elementary school. Hester Clark taught his son to play guitar when Roy was 14 years old, and soon Clark was playing banjo, guitar, and mandolin. “Guitar was my real love, though,” Clark later said. “I never copied anyone, but I was certainly influenced by them; especially by George Barnes. I just loved his swing style and tone.”
Clark also found inspiration in other local D.C. musicians. “One of the things that influenced me growing up around Washington, D.C., in the ’50s was that it had an awful lot of good musicians. And I used to go in and just steal them blind. I stole all their licks. It wasn’t until years later that I found out that a lot of them used to cringe when I’d come in and say, ‘Oh, no! Here comes that kid again.'” As for his banjo style, Clark said in 1985, “When I started playing, you didn’t have many choices to follow, and Earl Scruggs was both of them.” Clark won the National Banjo Championship in 1947 and 1948, and briefly toured with a band when he was 15.
Clark was very shy, and turned to humor as a way of easing his timidity. Country-western music was widely derided by Clark’s schoolmates, leaving him socially isolated. Clowning around, he felt, helped him to fit in again. Clark used humor as a musician as well, and it was not until the mid 1960s that he felt confident enough to perform in public without using humor in his act.
Roy Clark earned Seven CMA Awards, among them the coveted Entertainer of the Year Award in 1973. He was Comedian of the Year for 1970, won the Instrumental Group of the Year Award (with banjoist Buck Trent) in 1975 and 1976, and was named Instrumentalist of the Year in 1977, 1978, and 1980. His rendition of “Alabama Jubilee” earned him a 1982 Grammy for Best Country Instrumental Performance.
Mr. Clark died due to complications from pneumonia at home in Tulsa, Okla. on Thursday (Nov. 15), 2018 He was 85