Roy Clark, ‘Hee Haw’ Host and Country Music Legend, Dies at 85

He was also known for his hit song “Yesterday, When I Was Young”

Roy Clark, the country music singer and co-host of “Hee Haw,” the country-infused variety show, died on Thursday. He was 85.

Clark died from complications of pneumonia at home in Tulsa, Oklahoma, according to a statement from his publicist.

Though success didn’t come early for him, Clark became one of the first musicians to bring country music to a wider audience. Starting in 1969, he was either a host or co-host — along with Buck Owens and others  — of “Heehaw,” which was on the air for 24 years.

As for his solo career, Clark’s hit songs include “Yesterday, When I Was Young,” “Come Live with Me” and “Thank God and Greyhound.”

Outside of his hosting duties, Clark was known as an expert picker, a multi-instrumentalist, and one of the first artists to play in Branson, Missouri, which is now a popular family vacation destination in the Ozarks. Clark had lived in Tulsa since 1974, where there is an elementary school named after him.

In the 1970s, due to the popularity of “Hee Haw,” Clark would fill in for Johnny Carson as “Tonight Show” host, which was rare for a country music artist at the time.

Born in 1933 in Virginia, Clark was inducted in the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2009. He won seven CMA Awards and named Entertainer of the Year in 1973.

Clark is survived by Barbara, his wife of sixty-one years, 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.