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.