Longtime 'Tonight Show' drummer Shaughnessy dies

Ed Shaughnessy

Joseph Del Valle/NBC

Tonight Show drummer Ed Shaughnessy.

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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