Carl Hilding "Doc" Severinsen (born July 7, 1927) is an American pop and jazz trumpeter. He is best known for leading the NBC Orchestra on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.
Severinsen was born in Arlington, Oregon, the son of Minnie Mae (1897–1998) and Carl Severinsen (1898–1972), a dentist. Nicknamed "Little Doc" after his father, he originally wanted to play the trombone, but the senior Severinsen, a gifted amateur violinist, urged him to study that instrument instead. The younger Severinsen insisted on the trombone, but had to settle for the only horn available in Arlington's small music store, a trumpet. A week later, with the help of his father and a manual of instructions, the seven-year-old was good enough to be invited to join the high school band.
At the age of twelve, Little Doc won the Music Educator's National Contest. While still in high school he was hired to go on the road with the Ted Fio Rito Orchestra. However, his stay with the group was cut short by the World War II draft. After serving in the army he made his broadcasting debut playing live popular music on KODL in The Dalles, Oregon.