Longtime Friend Reflects on Life of Roy Clark


BRANSON — Clark, 85, passed away Thursday in Tulsa due to complications from pneumonia. 

The country music world lost an icon with the passing of Roy Clark, perhaps best known as the star of the show “Hee-Haw”.

In the early days on the Branson strip many of the acts such as the Pressley’s and the Baldknobber’s were local, homegrown acts. In the 1980’s Roy Clark planted his flag at what is now the Mickey Gilley Theater, bringing some star power to the Branson strip. 

“He’s the best entertainer of all times.”

That is high praise from Buck Trent, who has been up and down the road with some of country music’s legends. But Trent says from the day he met Roy Clark back in 1962, he just knew. At the time, Trent was performing with Porter Wagoner. 

“We were at Kansas City and they put Roy on first, and he was killin’ the people. So I run and got Porter, and I said ‘Porter come out here quick! There’s a little fat boy killin’ these people!’ That’s when we met, and we was friends a long time before we started working together in ’73,” said Trent.  

From then on, it was one achievement after the next. 

“Las Vegas, we’d do three weeks at a time, two shows a night. We played for the President, President Ford. (We were) the first country artists to go to Russia. (We played at) The Grand Ole Opry, oh yeah,” Trent explained.  

Perhaps his most notable part of his career was starring as the host of “Hee-Haw.”

Trent says Clarks knack for comedy made him a natural fit for the skit show, and it’s a trait he never lost, even up until he was near the end.

“They call me about a week and a half ago. They said ‘Buck, Roy’s asking for you. He’s asking for you and you better come now if you want to see him,” Trent said. 

Trent made the trip to Tulsa to say good bye. 

“So he’s trying to talk you know, and he says ‘little fat boy, little fat boy.’ He remembered that story and that’s been how long? In the sixties, early sixties,” Trent says. 

Clark was an icon to many country artists. Many of them such as Brad Paisley and Keith Urban posted their condolences on Twitter.

As for Buck Trent, he is glad to have been part of his life back then, and now.  

“I’m just glad I went and seen him, we’ll just meet again someday.” 

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