Roy Linwood Clark
(Born April 15, 1933) - Wearing a large masonic emblem on his lapel, Roy Clark entertained an audience of over 2,000 Masons and friends March 13 in the Cleveland Masonic Auditorium. Sponsored by the Valley of Cleveland, A.A.S.R., the show revealed the outstanding musical talent of the popular "Hee-Haw" performer and his 12-piece band.

Clark, who was made a Mason at sight December 9 in Tulsa by the Grand Master of Oklahoma, praised Masonry on stage, and in a private pre-show interview.

"I know of no other organization where you have a friend all over the world. It gives you peace of mind, especially travelling as much as we do."

"It was brought home to us last month when we were on tour in Regina, Saskatchewan," he explained. "Our guitar player, Frank Sandusky, had a blood vessel suddenly rupture in his neck, was rushed to the hospital, and the doctor's report was grave. When local brethren found out that he was a Mason they sent for his wife. They took her in, saw that she got back and forth to the hospital, and saw to her needs. It didn't cost her anything, and made an unpleasant situation more bearable — and that is what Masonry is all about. Frank is with us today, as my 'right arm' in the band and plays a lot of the beautiful harmony you'll hear."
 

Biography

Born in Meherrin, Virginia, Clark grew up in Staten Island, New York and lived as a teenager in Washington, D.C. where his father worked at the Washington Navy Yard. At 14, Clark began playing banjo, guitar, and mandolin, and by age 15 he had already won two National Banjo Championships and world banjo/guitar flatpick championships. He was simultaneously pursuing a sporting career, first as a baseball player, and then as a boxer, before dedicating himself solely to music. At 17, he had his first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry.

By 1955, he was a regular on Jimmy Dean's Washington, D.C. television program. Dean, who valued punctuality among musicians in his band, the Texas Wildcats, fired Clark for habitual tardiness, telling him "you're the most talented person I've ever fired." In 1960, Clark went out to Las Vegas where he worked as guitarist in a band led by former West Coast Western Swing bandleader-comedian Penny. During the very early 1960s, he was also prominent in the backing band for Wanda Jackson during the latter part of her rockabilly period.

When Dean was tapped to host The Tonight Show in the early 1960s, he asked Clark to appear, introducing him to a national audience for the first time. Subsequently, Clark appeared on The Beverly Hillbillies as a recurring character (actually two, he played businessman Roy Halsey and Roy's mother, Myrtle). Once, on an episode of the Sunday evening Jackie Gleason Show dedicated to country music, Clark played a blistering rendition of "Down Home". Later, he even appeared on an episode of The Odd Couple where he played "MalagueƱa".

In 1963, Clark signed to Capitol Records and had three top 10 hits. He switched to Dot Records and again scored hits. He later recorded for ABC Records, which had acquired Dot, and MCA Records, which absorbed the ABC label.

In 1969, Clark and Buck Owens were the hosts of Hee Haw. The show was dropped by CBS Television in 1971 but continued to run in syndication for twenty-one more years. During its tenure, Clark was a member of the Million Dollar Band and participated in a host of comedy sketches.

In 1983, Clark opened the Roy Clark Celebrity Theatre in Branson, Missouri, becoming the first country music star to have his own venue there, and thus beginning a trend which led to Branson becoming a center of live music performance, as it is today. Many of the celebrities who play in Branson first performed at the Roy Clark Celebrity Theatre. Clark frequently played in Branson during the 1980s and 1990s. He has since sold the venue (now owned by the Hughes Brothers and renamed the Hughes American Family Theatre) and gone back to a fairly light touring schedule, which usually includes a performance with Ramona Jones and the Jones Family Band at their annual tribute to Clark's old Hee Haw co-star Mountain View, Arkansas.

In addition to his musical skill, Clark has often displayed his talents as a comedian and actor. During his years on Hee Haw, Clark entertained with numerous comedy sketches, including a recurring feature where he played the clerk of the "Empty Arms Hotel". Clark released several albums of his comedic performances, to varying critical acclaim and commercial success.

Clark has endorsed Mosrite, Gretsch, and many other brands of guitar during his career. He currently endorses Heritage Guitars, which makes a Roy Clark model.

On August 22, 1987, Clark was made a member of the Grand Ole Opry. He plays an annual benefit concert at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia, the proceeds of which go to fund scholarships for aspiring musicians.

For many years Clark has made his home in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Roy Clark Elementary School in Tulsa's Union School District was named in his honor in 1978.

On May 17, 2009, Clark was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame along with Barbara Mandrell and Charlie McCoy.

On September 23, 2010, Clark sang God Bless America during the seventh-inning stretch at Dodger Stadium in a game featuring the Los Angeles Dodgers versus the San Diego Padres.

On April 12, 2011, Clark was honored by the Oklahoma House of Representatives. He will be honored by the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame as Oklahoma's Music Ambassador for Children and will be presented with a commendation from Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin.

Film roles

  • Country Comes Home (1982)
  • Uphill All the Way (1986)
  • Freeway (1988)

Television and film

He has appeared as himself in numerous television programs:

  • Five episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies as "Cousin Roy" (1969)
  • Swing Out, Sweet Land (1970)
  • The Odd Couple (1975) (episode "The Roy Clark Show" as Willie Boggs)
  • The Bell Telephone Jubilee (1976)
  • The Captain & Tennille Special (1976)
  • Fair Weather Friends (1977)
  • Hanna-Barbera's All-Star Comedy Ice Revue (1977)
  • The Muppet Show (1978)
  • EPCOT Center opening celebration (1982)
  • Disneyland's 30th Anniversary Celebration (1985)
  • 6th Annual National Songwriter Awards (1986)
  • The Grand Ole Opry 65th Anniversary (1991)
  • Gordy (1995)
  • The Grand Ole Opry 70th Anniversary (1996)
  • A Bing Crosby Christmas (1998)

Awards

  • 1970 - CMA - Comedian Of The Year
  • 1972 - ACM - Entertainer Of The Year
  • 1973 - ACM - Entertainer Of The Year
  • 1973 - CMA - Entertainer of the Year
  • 1975 - CMA - Instrumental Group Of The Year (with Buck Trent)
  • 1976 - CMA - Instrumental Group Of The Year (with Buck Trent)
  • 1977 - CMA - Instrumentalist Of The Year
  • 1978 - CMA - Instrumentalist Of The Year
  • 1980 - CMA - Instrumentalist Of The Year
  • 1982 - Grammy Award for Best Country Instrumental Performance for his recording of Alabama Jubilee
Made Master Mason at Sight by Oklahoma Grand Master -
- Jenk's Lodge #497 - Jenks, Oklahoma -
- Akdar Shriners - Tulsa, Oklahoma