British jazz drummer and bandleader JACK PARNELL has died at the age of 87.
The musician, famous for his role as the human conductor of The Muppet Show, passed away at his home in Southwold, England on Sunday (08Aug10) following a lengthy battle with cancer.
Parnell was born into a family of performers in 1923 - his father and uncle were both in the theatre. He kickstarted his career in World War II as part of a Royal Air Force band.
He later went on to perform with legendary U.K. jazz ensemble The Ted Heath Band in the 1950s, before becoming the musical director at now defunct British broadcaster ATV, overseeing the music for classic TV shows such as Sunday Night at the London Palladium and The Benny Hill Show.
In 1976 he went on to conduct the orchestra on The Muppet Show, although Nigel the Muppet took the credit for his work.
Parnell is survived by his wife, Veronica, two daughters and three sons.