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Paul Shaffer


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Paul Shaffer is a Canadian-American musician, actor, voice actor, author, comedian and composer currently seen as the bandleader on The Late Show with David Letterman . Since 1990, he has been married to Cathy Vasapoli, with whom he has two children.
Shaffer began his musical career in 1972 as the musical director for the Toronto production of Godspell, which starred the likes of Victor Garber, Gilda Radner, Martin Short, Eugene Levy, Dave Thomas and Andrea Martin. He went on to play piano for a Broadway show called The Magic Show in 1974, then became the musical director for NBC’s popular Saturday Night Live television program from 1975 to 1980, though briefly leaving the series in 1977. SNL gave Shaffer the opportunity to stretch his comedy wings as well, when he eventually became a cast-member.
Since 1982, Shaffer has served as musical director for David Letterman’s late night variety shows: as leader of “The World’s Most Dangerous Band” for Late Night with David Letterman (1982–1993) on NBC, for which he also composed the theme song, and as leader of the CBS Orchestra for The Late Show with David Letterman (1993—) on CBS. Letterman consistently maintains that the show’s switch to CBS was because NBC “fired Paul for stealing chalk”.
Shaffer has served as musical director and producer for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony since its inception in 1986.

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