Tony Mottola, 86, an Emmy-winning composer and guitarist who played with Frank Sinatra and on NBC’s “The Tonight Show” over the course of a 50-year career, died Monday of complications from a stroke at a hospital in Denville, N.J.
Mottola, a native of Kearny, N.J., began his career in 1936 when he toured with George Hall’s orchestra. He made his recording debut in 1941 in duets with Carl Kress.
In 1951, he became music director for the CBS-TV drama series “Danger.” He was a regular member of “The Tonight Show” orchestra from 1958 to 1972. He also appeared regularly on the “Perry Como Show” and “Sid Caesar Comedy Hour.”
From 1980 until his retirement in 1988, Mottola toured with Sinatra and was spotlighted in duets with him. Mottola also performed at the White House with Sinatra.