‘The Beverly Hillbillies’: Country Legend Roy Clark Once Recalled His Experience As Cousin Roy

by Joe Rutland
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Roy Clark is known for his work on Hee Haw but did you remember that he appeared on the classic TV show The Beverly Hillbillies? The Country Music Hall of Fame singer and guitarist actually shows up in the CBS sitcom as Cousin Roy. Clark would bring his voice and guitar to the big house in Beverly Hills and offer up a tune.

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What does Clark remember about those episodes? He talks about it in an interview with the Archive of American Television. “That was sort of a natural thing,” Clark says. “Paul Henning, the creator of The Beverly Hillbillies, came to me or came to Jim Halsey and said we’ve written some scripts and we’d like to have Roy come in and do it. Well again, here I am coming in. You know, although they were playing hillbilly parts, they were all great legitimate actors.”

Clark mentions Buddy Ebsen, Irene Ryan, and Max Baer Jr. But he says that Donna Douglas was his first on-screen television kiss in his career. “They were actors playing a hillbilly part,” Clark said. “So I went in thinking, ‘Boy, I hope I can get through this. I hope I’m not so bad they have to cancel and did get somebody else to do something else.'”

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He recalls going into that first reading with the cast members that everyone was comfortable. “So I just sit down and enjoy and then, next thing you know, I’m called an Uncle Jed.” Clark would go on to say that the Cousin Roy character was a combination of him on Hee Haw and what they wanted him to portray. Below is a clip featuring Ebsen, Ryan, and Douglas while Clark plays Orange Blossom Special.

While classic TV fans will love seeing Clark as Cousin Roy or Mother Myrtle, others fondly remember him with Buck Owens. The two worked well together and helped a whole new generation of country music lovers grow up. But Clark was not finished with sitcoms at all.

He would have a memorable turn on the 1970s show The Odd Couple starring Jack Klugman and Tony Randall. One scene which leaves both actors speechless is when Clark plays Malaguena on his guitar. The flamenco stylings and sheer professionalism of Clark are worth seeing again and again. Of course, Roy Clark remains one of the greatest guitarists in the history of country music. His work stands the test of time today and forever. Just like watching The Beverly Hillbillies over and over again in the world of reruns.

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