Longtime ‘Tonight Show’ Drummer Ed Shaughnessy Dies At 84

by | May 27, 2013 at 8:51 PM | Celebrity Deaths

Tonight Show" band leader Doc Severinsen with Ed Shaughnessy on drums in 1972. (Access Hollywood)


LOS ANGELES (AP) — Ed Shaughnessy, the jazz drummer who for nearly three decades anchored the rhythm section of Doc Severinsen’s “Tonight Show” band, has died in Southern California. He was 84.

William Selditz, a close family friend, tells the Los Angeles Times that Shaughnessy had a heart attack Friday at his home in Calabasas, outside Los Angeles.

The New Jersey native began his jazz career as a teenager, playing with Billie Holiday, Benny Goodman and Count Basie. He replaced Buddy Rich in Tommy Dorsey’s band.

In the mid-1950s Shaughnessy became a staff musician at CBS.

From 1963 to 1992, Shaughnessy was a late-night television fixture as part of the house band on NBC’s “Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson.

He is survived by a son and three grandchildren.

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