roy clark

Roy Clark in a familiar pose, pickin' and grinnin' with his co-host Buck Owens, on the set of Hee Haw.

Image courtesy of Time Life

The legendary guitarist reached the world through television, but touched his fans’ hearts through a mix of virtuosity and humor.

The Washington, D.C., area has produced its share of guitar whizzes, including Roy Buchanan, Danny Gatton, Jeff Baxter, and Steuart Smith. But perhaps the best known is Roy Clark, who died at his Tulsa, Oklahoma, home on Thursday, November 15, at age 85.

The often-smiling, nattily attired Clark differed from those others by being of a generation that combined virtuosity with a sincere desire to entertain. Jaw-dropping pickers like Glen Campbell, Les Paul, Jerry Reed, and Clark came out of a school of performers that felt completely comfortable injecting humor into their acts and even their playing. That may be why they ended up in the most popular entertainment medium of their age: television.

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