By Stephanie Nolasco for Fox News (Nov 15, 2018) . . .

“Hee Haw” star Victoria Hallman told Fox News Thursday she was in absolute shock that her co-star and beloved friend, country music legend Roy Clark, had passed away.

Clark died on Thursday at his Tulsa, Okla., home due to complications from pneumonia. He was 85.

“I’m just stunned,” admitted Hallman while fighting back tears in an exclusive interview with Fox News. “He was having trouble with his back, but that’s about it. None of us had any idea he was so ill. We knew physically he was breaking down from all the traveling and everything he has always done, but we weren’t aware he was in danger of leaving us so soon. But it’s been very cold here in the South, in Tulsa. I just have to assume something happened to him because of the weather and he just never recovered.”

Hallman said the last time she saw Clark was two years ago in Nashville for a memorial honoring a “Hee Haw” producer who had passed away.

Roy Clark center; Honeys surrounding Roy, clockwise from top left: Linda Thompson, Gunilla Hutton, Irlene Mandrell, Victoria Hallman, Misty Rowe.

“When I walked in, Roy was already playing and singing,” she recalled. “It was so poignant to see Roy doing what he loved… He had a hard time getting around, but just to see him rather up in age now, playing this lovely song… I just stopped and listened… You know, Roy was completely untrained as a musician. He was just one of those people you would call a natural. He could just pick up any instrument and begin to play it. His gift was God-given. He was born to entertain.”

Hallman also described Clark as charismatic and comical, someone who was always willing to make anyone in his presence laugh.

“He must have come out of the womb being funny,” she chuckled. “He always kept us laughing on ‘Hee Haw.’ I remember one time in Nashville, we were talking with [co-star] Ralph Emery about how I was hired… Ralph said, ‘It was very quickly that they started using [Victoria] as a Hee Haw Honey.’ And Roy said, ‘Well, I guess we did. It doesn’t take me long to notice a girl.’ He just cracked us up.”

Hallman’s rep, Ruth Elkins, who also knew Clark, insisted that even while the entertainer was faced with health woes as he became older, music still remained his greatest passion.

 

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