West coast jazz trumpet player, singer and actor Jack Sheldon passed away on December 27th, at the age of 88 according to Consequence of Sound. Sheldon served as the musical director of The Merv Griffin Show for 18 years, and voiced several episodes of the classic education program Schoolhouse Rock!, including the shows most famous skit “I’m Just a Bill.” His death was also confirmed by his biographer and documentarian, Doug McIntyre.
The performer was born in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1931 and relocated to the west-coast of the United States during where he began his career. As a jazz musician, Sheldon was a big time collaborator, and worked with high-profile artists such as Tom Waits, Frank Sinatra, The Monkees, Art Pepper, and Benny Goodman. The performer released over released 27 albums throughout his entire career and even worked on a few television programs including the 1960s CBS sitcom Run, Buddy, Run and the police procedural drama Dragnet.
As a performer Sheldon was multi-talented, and played trumpet, sang, and often participated in sketches with the show’s host on The Merv Griffin Show. He was also open to parodying his own work, and satirized his own School House Rock! skits on the adult-oriented animated television programs The Simpsons and Family Guy.
The performer also appeared on the Oscar-nominated documentary film Let’s Get Lost about the life of fellow jazz trumpeter Chet Baker. He also received his own feature-length documentary in the 2008 project Trying to Get Good: the Jazz Odyssey of Jack Sheldon.