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Jack Sheldon (born November 30, 1931) is an American bebop and West Coast jazz trumpeter, singer, and actor. He is probably best remembered as a trumpet player and comedian on The Merv Griffin Show. His role expanded after Griffin's sidekick, Arthur Treacher, left the show.


Sheldon was born in Jacksonvillemarker, Floridamarker. He originally became known through his participation in the West Coast jazz movement of the 1950s, performing and recording with such figures as Art Pepper, Gerry Mulligan, and Curtis Counce.

In the 1964–1965 season, Sheldon was a costar with Cara Williams and Frank Aletter on the CBS situation comedy, The Cara Williams Show in which Williams and Aletter played a secretly-married couple trying to keep their union quiet because their employer forbade a husband and wife from both working for the company.

From 1966–1967, Sheldon starred in his own 16 episode CBS sitcom, Run, Buddy, Run, as Buddy Overstreet, a young accountant taking a steam bath who overhears a mobster's plot to kill a colleague and then goes on the run to keep from being killed. Bruce Gordon, formerly of The Untouchables played the mobster, "Mr. D".

Sheldon played the trumpet, sang, and performed on the Merv Griffin television program. He was Merv's sidekick and comedic foil for many years. He also made numerous appearances on the 1967-70 version of the Jack Webb NBC series Dragnet. He also played John Davidson and Sally Field's friend on The Girl With Something Extra (1974).

His voice is perhaps best known from the Schoolhouse Rock! cartoons of the 1970s, such as "Conjunction Junction" and "I'm Just A Bill". Later, he parodied his own performance in "I'm Just a Bill" in an episode of The Simpsons called "The Day the Violence Died", where he is just an "amendment to be." "I'm Just a Bill" was also parodied in the Family Guy episode "Mr. Griffin Goes to Washington". Here, the bill on Capitol Hillmarker begins singing the opening lyrics, when a janitor comes up and stabs him with a stick, then throws him away. He also parodied his voice in the Family Guy episode "Running Mates" where Peter made changes to the sex education curriculum with a spin off of the "Conjunction Junction" skit, "Vagina Junction".

Sheldon voiced "Louie The Lightning Bug" in a series of animated musical public service announcements aimed at children from the 1980s, promoting safety with electricity.

Sheldon appeared in an Oscar-nominated documentary film Let's Get Lost about the life of fellow jazz trumpeter Chet Baker. A trumpet solo of his is featured throughout the Francis Ford Coppola film, One from the Heart (1986). Tom Waits' 1977 album Foreign Affairs includes Sheldon playing trumpet on several cuts, including the solo at the end of "Burma Shave".

He made an appearance in the 1994 film Radioland Murders as the ill-fated trumpet player Ruffles Reedy, who becomes a victim of the gruesome goings-on during a 1939 radio show. In 2004, Jack performed live at the end of ALF's Hit Talk Show. He has also appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Sheldon is the subject of an award winning feature documentary, Trying to Get Good: the Jazz Odyssey of Jack Sheldon (2008). Produced by Doug McIntyre and Penny Peyser, the film features interviews with Clint Eastwood, Billy Crystal, Merv Griffin, Chris Botti, Dave Frishberg, Johnny Mandel, Tierney Sutton and many more, as well as never before seen concert footage of Sheldon playing, singing and joking. Trying to Get Good won Jury Prizes at the 2008 Kansas City Film Makers Jubilee and Newport Beach Film Festival, as well as Audience Prizes at Newport Beach and the Indianapolis International Film Festival. Entertainment Tonight's Leonard Maltin called the film, "Compelling and highly entertaining." Jack's film biography enjoyed a successful three week run at the Crest Theater in Los Angelesmarker and continues to play around the country at Film and Jazz festivals. The DVD was released in September 2008.

, Sheldon is still active and performing, including a performance at "Le Jazz Cool, Le Jazz Hot: A Celebration of Modern Jazz in Los Angeles and France" in November at the Getty Centermarker in Los Angeles.

Jack played the trumpet solo for "The Shadow of Your Smile" theme on the soundtrack of the movie, The Sandpiper. It was one of Merv Griffin's favorite tunes. Jack played it at Merv's memorial service.

Jack's son, Kevin Sheldon, was a craftsman in Los Angeles. Many lasting memorials stand as a tribute to his skills as well, located in many Hollywoodmarker celebrity homes and famous locations.


  • 1954 The Quartet and the Quintet Blue Note
  • 1957 Jack Sheldon and His All Star Band GNP Crescendo
  • 1957 Jack's Groove GNP
  • 1961 A Jazz Profile of Ray Charles
  • 1962 Out! Capitol
  • 1962 Oooo, But it's Good Capitol
  • 1964 Jack Sheldon Presents the Entertainers VSOP
  • 1968 The Warm World of Jack Sheldon Dot
  • 1979 Singular Beez
  • 1980 Angel Wings Atlas
  • 1980 Playin' It Straight Real Time
  • 1983 Stand by for Jack Sheldon Concord Jazz
  • 1984 Blues in the Night Phontastic
  • 1986 Playing for Change Uptown
  • 1987 Hollywood Heroes Concord Jazz
  • 1991 On My Own Concord Jazz
  • 1992 Jack Sheldon Sings Butterfly
  • 1995 Jack is Back! Butterfly
  • 1997 Live at Don Mupo's Gold Nugget VSOP
  • 2001 Jack Sheldon & His All-Stars GNP Crescendo
  • 2007 It's What I Do


  • 1966 : Run Buddy Run (TV) : Buddy Overstreet (unknown episodes)
  • 1967 : He & She (TV) : Additional Voices (unknown episodes)
  • 1969 : Under the Yum Yum Tree (TV) : Charlie Prokter
  • 1973 : Schoolhouse Rock! (série TV) (voix)
  • 1973 : The Girl with Something Extra (série TV) : Jerry Burton (unknown episodes)
  • 1976 : Un vendredi dingue, dingue, dingue (Freaky Friday) : Lloyd
  • 1991 : For the Boys : Wally Fields
  • 1993 : Lush Life (TV) : Norman
  • 1994 : Radioland Murders : Ruffles Reed
  • 1996 : Cher bon Dieu (Dear God) : Homeless Trumpeter
  • 1998 : Hard Time (TV) : Trumpet
  • 1999 : Hard Time: The Premonition (TV) : Trumpet
  • 1999 : Hard time - Menace explosive (Hard Time: Hostage Hotel) (TV) : Trumpet


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