Industry Mentor Buddy Arnold Dies
Buddy Arnold, a jazz saxophonist who co-founded a major music industry treatment program for drug and alcohol addiction, has died from complications resulting from open heart surgery. He was 77. ArnolBuddy Arnold, a jazz saxophonist who co-founded a major music industry treatment program for drug and alcohol addiction, has died from complications resulting from open heart surgery. He was 77. Arnold died yesterday (Nov. 9) at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
He was a co-founder of the Musicians' Assistance Program, an organization allowing music industry members to receive treatment for drug and alcohol addiction regardless of their ability to pay. It quickly became one of the music industry's most prominent charities.
Born in the Bronx, N.Y., Arnold began playing saxophone at age nine. By 16, he was on the road as a sideman. After serving in the Army during World War II, he joined the Buddy Rich Big Band on a West Coast tour and made his first recording, performing on the Mercury Records release by Gene Williams and the Junior Thornhill Band.
Despite his career success, Arnold became addicted to heroin and was sent to prison in 1958 for an attempted burglary conviction. Pardoned in 1960, he went on to play with the Tommy Dorsey Band and toured with Stan Kenton. He recorded four albums for Capitol Records.
But as the Big Band era waned, Arnold again began using drugs and, in 1981, was sentenced to seven years in San Quentin for writing prescriptions and impersonating a doctor.
Following his release from prison, he and his wife, Carole Fields, founded MAP in their living room in 1992. The organization claims it has helped more than 1,500 musicians with their addictions.
A colorful, sometimes gruff character, Arnold was a beloved figure who frequented many high profile entertainment industry events. "I know when people die, everyone rushes to turn them into a saint and I wouldn't do that to him," said Anthony Kiedis, the lead singer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who knew Arnold for over a dozen years. "But he really did have a heart of gold."
Arnold is survived by his wife; a son, Rob Loftus, from a previous marriage; and a sister, Elaine Weiner.
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