"I like [Tulsa]…I came here and was more accepted than I was in my own hometown. I’m glad I adopted Oklahoma and Oklahoma adopted me.”
Roy Linwood Clark was born and raised in Virginia and graduated from Chamberlain Vocational High School in Washington, D.C. He received $7.50 for one night’s work on stage with his father’s band at age 16, worked briefly as a local car hop, and had a paper route for the Washington Star. He played on the legendary stage of the Grand Old Opry and toured for two years with Jimmy Dean’s band, followed by hit records, national and international television appearances, and co-hosting “Swinging Country.” He was co-host of the long running nationally syndicated country music program “Hee-Haw” beginning in 1966. Clark was the first country music artist to host Johnny Carson’s “Tonight Show” on NBC, the first to headline a major Las Vegas hotel and the first to sell out New York City’s Carnegie Hall and Madison Square Garden. His awards include the top Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association Awards, Oklahoma’s Ambassador of Goodwill, and a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. He was one of the pioneers of Branson, Missouri’s world-renown music community and supported Tulsa’s Children’s Medical Center and other philanthropic projects around the nation.
Roy Clark played his first guitar, a cigar box with a ukulele neck and fan strings, in his elementary school band; made his first public performance at age 15 with his father’s bluegrass band; was offered a tryout with the St. Louis Browns baseball team at age 18; and won 15 straight light heavyweight boxing matches at age 19.
Clark moved with his wife to Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1974.