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Toots Thielemans

  • Birthplace: Brussels, Belgium
  • Birthday: April 29
Date of passing: 
August 22, 2016

Obituary

Obituary: 

Toots Thielemans was a Belgian musician and performer best known for playing the harmonica, and collaborating with musical giants including Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Paul Simon and Billy Joel.

Thielemans’ own music was used in the scores of many classic films, including Midnight Cowboy, The Getaway, The Sugarland Express, The Wiz, Arthur, Fried Green Tomatoes and How Stella Got Her Groove Back.

His music was also featured on television, including the telefilm As Summers Die, with Jamie Lee Cutis and Bette Davis; the HBO series Sex and the City; and the Dutch version of Sesame Street, Sesamstraat.

Additionally, Thielemans performed on various variety and late-night talk shows, including The Mike Douglas Show, Saturday Night Live, The Paul Simon Special and Late Night with David Letterman.

Toots Thielemans was a Belgian musician and performer best known for playing the harmonica, and collaborating with musical giants including Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Paul Simon and Billy Joel.

Thielemans’ own music was used in the scores of many classic films, including Midnight Cowboy, The Getaway, The Sugarland Express, The Wiz, Arthur, Fried Green Tomatoes and How Stella Got Her Groove Back.

His music was also featured on television, including the telefilm As Summers Die, with Jamie Lee Cutis and Bette Davis; the HBO series Sex and the City; and the Dutch version of Sesame Street, Sesamstraat.

Additionally, Thielemans performed on various variety and late-night talk shows, including The Mike Douglas Show, Saturday Night Live, The Paul Simon Special and Late Night with David Letterman.

The musician got his start playing harmonica as a hobby, and began playing jazz music in his twenties. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1952 and joined Charlie Parker’s All Stars.

In 2001, Thielemans was honored by Belgium's royal family, when King Albert II gave him the title of baron. In 2009, the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts granted him that year’s Jazz Master Award.

Thielemans died August 22, 2016, in Brussels, Belgium. He was 94.

 

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