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Trumpeter Tony Terran, the last surviving member of the Desi Arnaz orchestra seen and heard on the fabled CBS sitcom I Love Lucy, has died. He was 90.
Terran, a renowned studio session player who also worked on Carol Burnett’s long-running variety show, died March 20 in Los Angeles, his son, Dave Terran, announced.
Tony Terran also played with “The Wrecking Crew,” the legendary group of L.A. session musicians (Glen Campbell was a member) that in their 1960s heyday backed the likes of Frank Sinatra, Sonny & Cher, The Mamas & The Papas, The Beach Boys and The Monkees.
A native of Buffalo, N.Y., Terran auditioned for a job with Horace Heidt’s orchestra and immediately was hired. The next day, the 18-year-old was off on a national tour that would come to an end in Los Angeles in 1944.
“I had no money, so went to the musician’s union to look for a gig that paid so I could get back home to Buffalo. They hooked me up with Bob Hope,” he once recalled. Arnaz was the bandleader for Hope’s radio show, and they connected. When he wasn’t working for Hope, Terran played for the Cuban musician in ballrooms and theaters around the country.
On Arnaz and Lucille Ball’s I Love Lucy, which debuted in 1951, Terran was a member of The Ricky Ricardo Orchestra, the musicians that supported Arnaz’s character when he was the headline act at the Club Tropicana in New York.
Terran went on to collaborate with Ball on her subsequent TV shows and played on dozens of theme songs and film soundtracks.
The versatile Terran also performed or recorded with artists including Ella Fitzgerald, Dean Martin, Perry Como, Linda Ronstadt, Peggy Lee, Elvis Presley, Diana Ross, Ray Charles and Barbra Streisand and was a featured soloist for composers/arrangers like John Williams, Lalo Schifrin, Elmer Bernstein, Jerry Goldsmith, Henry Mancini and Nelson Riddle.
Terran released a solo album, The Song’s Been Sung, on Capitol Records in 1966.
In addition to his son Dave — who also plays the trumpet — survivors include his other children Mark, Eve and Jennifer and step-daughter Aprile.
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