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Longtime ‘Tonight Show’ drummer Ed Shaughnessy dies

LOS ANGELES – 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, told the Los Angeles Times (http://lat.ms/1albfp7) 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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