Former "Tonight Show" backup bandleader Tommy Newsom – a.k.a., "Mr. Excitement" – died of cancer at his home in Portsmouth, Va., April 28th.
Newsom, 78, joined "The Tonight Show" in 1962 as a saxophonist and rose to assistant music director, filling in when bandleader Doc Severinsen was away.
His low-key personality and drab fashion sense, a sharp contrast from Severinsen, earned him the nickname "Mr. Excitement" from host Johnny Carson and he became a regular target of Carson’s monologues.
He retired along with Carson in 1992. Newsom released several albums as a bandleader and won two Emmys for music direction.