World-renowned country singer, Roy Clark, has died at the age of 85. Clark died of complications from pneumonia, according to his publicist.
Clark was known for the show ‘Hee Haw’ where he was the host. Other than his long reign on this 24-year long show, he also helped transform Ozark town of Branson, Mo., into a hot spot for tourists. This was where he opened a Roy Clark Celebrity Theatre the same year he won a Grammy Award for best country instrumentalist performance for “Alabama Jubilee.”
He made his big break in 1960 by signing with Capitol Records. During the ‘60s and ‘70s, Clark placed a total of 24 singles in the country Top 40, nine of them in the Top 10, according to The New York Times. Then in 1973, he won the Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year Award among others. Clark took a different path than the other country singers of his time.
Clarke was the first country star to tour the Soviet Union during his world tour with the Oak Ridge Boys, according to USA Today. He was performing in the Soviet Union more than a decade before the Berlin Wall came down. His high status led him to be elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2009, according to the country music hall of fame.
Clark is survived by his wife Barbara, children and several grandchildren.
A memorial celebration will be held soon in Tulsa, Oklahoma, according to Mercury News.