Country Music Hall of Famer and longtime Tulsa resident Roy Clark was honored today on the floor the Oklahoma House of Representatives.
The Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame recognized Clark as Oklahoma’s Music Ambassador for Children. State Rep. George Faught (R-Muskogee, where the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame is based) presented “the legend of pickin’ and grinnin’” with a commendation from Gov. Mary Fallin.
“Thank you, I never thought it would resort to this,” Clark cracked. “But then they said ‘Hee-Haw’ wouldn’t last. But we were in production for over 25 years.”
Clark, who co-hosted the long-running TV comedy-variety show “Hee-Haw” with the late Buck Owens, said the most satisfying ventures of his long career have been the opportunities to work with children.
“That’s what all of this means is that I’m gonna play a little music with and for our children of Oklahoma,” he said. “God bless y’all for being so nice and letting me come into this hallowed hall.”
Clark was accompanied by his wife Barbara and legendary manager Jim Halsey.
Clark, who will turn 78 on Friday, learned to play the guitar, banjo and mandolin at a young age. By age 17, the Virginia native had won two national banjo championships, which earned him his first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry.
He became a regular on Jimmy Dean’s TV show “Town and Country Time” and took over the series when Dean left. Clark moved to Las Vegas in 1960 and became a fixture at the Golden Nugget. He later joined Oklahoma native Wanda Jackson as leader of her band.
In the 1960s and ’70s, Clark charted several Top 10 country singles including “Tips of My Fingers,” “Yesterday When I Was Young” and “If I Had It to Do All Over Again.”
He also ventured into acting, first with TV shows such as “The Tonight Show” and “The Beverly Hillbillies” and later in the movies “Uphill All the Way,” “Freeway” and “Gordy.”
In 1969, Clark and Owens were picked by CBS to co-host “Hee Haw,” a country version of the series “Laugh-In.” He and Owens, who died in 2006, hosted “Hee Haw” for more than 20 years.
In his six-decade career, Clark has won a Grammy and many other awards, gained a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and joined the Grand Ole Opry. He and Jackson, a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, were inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame in 2000. Clark was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2009.
In addition, Roy Clark Elementary School is named for him.