Roy Clark is the son of two amateur musicians, but as of 2015, there is no information on his parents or immediate family outside of his wife. He married Barbara Joyce Rupard in 1957.
While Roy Clark was born in Virginia, he grew up in New York, spending most of his time in Washington, D.C. From a young age, he had a strong musical background, and by the age of 14, he began to play the mandolin, guitar and banjo. Through his dedication to his music, he won two national banjo championships. While he pursued his musical career, he also pursued a sports career, trying out as a baseball player, then a boxer. Eventually, he decided to focus on his musical abilities, and he made his first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry when he was just 17.
During the mid-1950s, Roy Clark performed regularly on Jimmy Dean's TV show, but Dean eventually fired him for his tardiness. However, Roy Clark's musical career did not end there, and he played for Wanda Jackson during the 1960s. During this time, he also pursued his solo career. In 1963, he signed with Capitol Records and recorded several hits before he went on to record for ABC Records.