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'Tonight Show' drummer Ed Shaughnessy dies at 84

May 27, 2013 at 4:04 PM ET

IMAGE: Ed Shaughnessy
Michael Ochs / Getty Images file
Ed Shaughnessy in 1986.

Jazz drummer Ed Shaughnessy, who played a major role in Doc Severinsen's "Tonight Show" band from 1963 to 1992, has died at age 84.

Shaughnessy died of a heart attack Friday at his Calabasas, Calif. home, the Los Angeles Times reports.

He began drumming as a teen and performed with such famous names as Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin and Jimi Hendrix.

His big band experience included work with the Benny Goodman, Count Basie and Tommy Dorsey bands.

Doc Severinsen's memoir, quoted by the Times, calls Shaughnessy, "the superb engine that drove our Tonight Show Band for thirty years … with spirit and immense skill."

Many "Tonight Show" viewers learned to recognize Shaughnessy by his distinctive muttonchop whiskers.

He is survived by a son, daughter-in-law, and three grandchildren, the Times reports. His wife Ilene Woods, who died in 2010, provided the voice of Cinderella in Disney's 1950 animated classic film.


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