May 20, 2015 - In recognition of the outstanding accomplishments of a native son of Thunder Bay and great ambassador of our City, Mayor Keith Hobbs proclaims May 20 Paul Shaffer Day in Thunder Bay.

Shaffer was born and raised in Fort William. As a child, he took piano lessons, and in his teenage years played the organ in a band with his schoolmates in Thunder Bay. Later he performed with various bands around Edmonton and B.C and was educated at the University of Toronto, performing in bands there where he found an interest in musicals, and completed his studies with a B.A. degree in Sociology in 1971.

Shaffer began his music career in 1972, as the musical director for the Toronto production of Godspell. He went on to play piano for the Schwartz Broadway show The Magic Show in 1974, then became a member of the house band on NBC's popular Saturday Night Live (SNL) television program from 1975 to 1980. Shaffer also regularly appeared in the show's sketches, notably as the pianist for Bill Murray's Nick the Lounge Singer character, and as Don Kirshner. Shaffer teamed up with the Players off the show as well, including work on Gilda Radner's highly successful Broadway show and as the musical director for John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd as The Blues Brothers.

Since 1982, Shaffer has served as musical director for David Letterman's late night talk 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-present) on CBS

Shaffer has served as musical director and producer for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony since its inception in 1986 and filled the same role for the 1996 Olympic Games closing ceremonies from Atlanta, Georgia. He has released two solo albums, 1989's Grammy-nominated Coast to Coast, and 1993's The World's Most Dangerous Party.

Shaffer has appeared in a number of motion pictures over the years, including Rob Reiner's This Is Spinal Tap, Blues Brothers 2000, in the Bill Murray film Scrooged and in Look Who's Talking Too. In addition, Shaffer lent his voice to Disney's animated feature and television series Hercules, as the character Hermes.

In 2002, the street which surrounds the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium was renamed Paul Shaffer Drive. Shaffer has also received two honorary doctorates, including one from Lakehead University. Since 2002, he has been the national spokesperson for Epilepsy Canada. In September 2005, Shaffer made a major contribution to Lakehead University to dedicate the fifth floor ATAC boardroom to his father Bernard Shaffer, inaugural member of the Board of Governors. In June 2006, he received a star on Canada's Walk of Fame.

Shaffer's memoir, We'll Be Here for the Rest of Our Lives: A Swingin' Show-biz Saga (co-authored by David Ritz) was published on October 6, 2009.  The final Late Night with David Letterman Show airs tonight.

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Contact: Mayor Keith Hobbs, 625-3601