Tuesday, April 01, 2014

The Career of Jazz Artist Jack Sheldon

Generation X people will no doubt remember the Saturday morning "Schoolhouse Rock" animated segments from the 1970's. Two of the most popular cartoons were "Conjunction Junction" and "I'm Just a Bill". The voice on those was provided by Jack Sheldon. He has voiced spoofs of those characters for "The Simpsons" and "Family Guy". He is also the voice of the character Louie the Lightning Bug. Many may not know about the life of Sheldon, who is much more than just the "Schoolhouse Rock" guy. He is a respected jazz trumpet player/singer. At 82 years old, he lives in the Hollywood Hills and still performs in jazz clubs as a singer/trumpet player. He was Merv Griffin's sidekick/trumpet player for his long running daytime talk show.

Sheldon has dabbled in the world of acting, appearing as the star of the 1966 TV show "Run Buddy Run". He also appeared in the 1976 film "Freaky Friday". He was in the 1991 film "For the Boys" with Bette Midler and James Caan. He had roles in legendary TV series such as "Adam 12", "Petticoat Junction" and "Dragnet".

He has played trumpet on many TV soundtracks such as "Moonlighting", "The Munsters" and "In the Heat of the Night". He played trumpet on many film soundtracks including "Breakfast at Tiffany's".

In 2008 a documentary was released about his life called "Trying to Get Good: The Jazz Odyssey of Jack Sheldon". The film talked about his struggles with substance abuse and his turbulent life. It featured appearances by Billy Crystal, Clint Eastwood, Dom DeLuise and Sheldon's former boss, Merv Griffin.

He suffered a stroke in 2011 and needed to learn to play his trumpet with his left hand. Read about his return to performing in November of 2013 here.

Some information from www.imdb.com.
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