Monday, April 30, 2007

Tommy Newsom. RIP

Washington Post:

Tommy Newsom, 78, a jazz saxophonist and arranger who gained national visibility as a key member of Johnny Carson's "Tonight Show" band for three decades, and whom Carson drolly nicknamed "Mr. Excitement" for his stone-faced looks and somber outfits, died April 28 at his home in Portsmouth, Va. He had bladder and liver cancer.

As a personality, Mr. Newsom pretended to have none. Carson gently taunted him for his deadpan expression and bland tastes -- his suits ran the gamut from brown to navy blue...

"I think the first night I took over for Doc, Carson recoiled," Mr. Newsom told the Los Angeles Times. "He was so used to having foils on either side, Ed [McMahon] over here and Doc over there, and he needed somebody to bounce something off of, so the gags began.

"I guess my cardboard cutout style makes a good contrast to Doc's flamboyant image," he said. "Carson has really laid some heavy ones on me. One night he said I was the only person who was going to reach puberty and senility at the same time."

Mr. Excitement, Thanks for the Banalities.


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