Country music star Roy Clark died on Thursday at home in Tulsa at age 85.
In 1969, Clark and Buck Owens were tapped to co-host "Hee Haw". First airing from 1969-1971, and again in syndication from 1971-1993, Hee Haw became an iconic country music touchstone, and more than 600 episodes of the show were produced in total. "Clark also displayed his six (or, in the case of his cover of "(Ghost) Riders in the Sky, 12)-string prowess with his instrumental covers of pieces like "Malagueña". His father, who played in a square dance band, took him to see the National Symphony Orchestra and military bands.
He toured the Soviet Union in 1976, bringing country behind the Iron Curtain, and in 1983 opened the Roy Clark Celebrity Theatre in Branson, Missouri, helping turn the Ozark town into a country music destination.
Clark was a Grammy, ACM and CMA award victor, and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2009.
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Born Roy Linwood Clark on April 15, 1933 in Meherrin, Va., he grew up mostly in Washington, D.C., and gained a love of all kinds of music early on. In 1960, he got the chance to front the band of country singer Wanda Jackson. While he was first and foremost a country artist, Clark was something of a polymath, with facility in rock, jazz and pop; he became the first country artist to play at the Montreux Jazz Festival and recorded an album with jazz artist Joe Pass in 1994. He also performed regularly in Las Vegas.
A source of comic relief as well as musical flair, Clark played alongside musicians including Owens, banjo player Grandpa Jones and singer Kenny Price, with whom he formed the Hee Haw Gospel Quartet. Owens, who left the show in 1986, later referred to it as a "cartoon donkey", one he endured for "that big paycheck". "The viewers were sort of part-owners of the show", he told the Associated Press in 2004. In addition to corny jokes and recurring sketches, the show was also an important feature for country music performers.
A new-look centre pairing of Jack Nowell and Alex Lozowski start outside Ford and his half-back partner Danny Care. The Bath back row will be flanked by Courtney Lawes on the blindside and Mark Wilson will wear the 7 jersey.
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