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Doug Atwell; Fiddler Won Country Music Awards

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Doug Atwell, a professional musician who was twice named “Fiddler of the Year” by the California Country Music Assn., has died. He was 47.

Atwell died Thursday of congestive heart failure after calling paramedics to his Burbank home, friend and colleague Arnie Moore said. Moore said Atwell had a history of heart problems.

A native of Washington state, Atwell performed regularly with the Horace Heidt Jr. Big Band at the Los Angeles Raiders home games, and had been a member of such popular bands as Western Union and the Palomino Riders, the house band at the popular Palomino in North Hollywood.

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Atwell won the top state award for fiddler in 1984 and 1991. He was also nominated by the Academy of Country Music every year for the last decade as best fiddle player.

Atwell was considered a veteran professional in Southern California. He played fiddle in the seven-piece band that performed in the Conejo Players’ production of Roger Miller’s musical “Big River” last year in Ventura.

He appeared in several television shows, including “The Tracey Ullman Show” and “Down Home USA,” and was in films, including Disney’s “The Rocketeer.”

Atwell earned his bachelor’s degree in music education from Gonzaga University, performed with the Spokane Symphony and taught music for three years in Washington state public schools.

He is survived by his fiancee, Linda Dayhoff of Los Angeles; two sons, Joseph and Ty, both of Colorado, and his father, Jim, and brother, David, both of Washington.

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