GREENWICH, Conn. -- A medical examiner ruled today that bandleader Tommy Dorsey, the "sentimental gentleman of swing," accidentally choked to death in his sleep.
Police and Dorsey's family denied there was any mystery surrounding his death Monday in the locked master bedroom of his $130,000 home. He died just two days before he was due to appear in court to reply to his third wife's divorce suit.
Medical examiner Dr. C. Stanley Knapp said after an autopsy the 51-year old musician threw up while he slept, and food lodged in his windpipe and lungs.
Found by manager
Police who were called to the 23-room house after Dorsey's fully clothed body was found by Vincent Carbone, his booking agent, agreed with the medical examiner's findings. They said there was no evidence of foul play and nothing to indicate that Dorsey took his own lie.
However, Knapp said Dorsey's vital organs will be sent to the state toxicology laboratory in Hartford, Conn., for analysis.
An empty bottle, which Mrs. Jane (Janie) New Dorsey had said contained her husband's sleeping pills, was found in a bathroom adjoining his bedroom.
The Dorsey brothers' band played as usual Monday night in the Cafe Rouge at the Hotel Statler in New York. But the trombone player's equally famous brother, Jimmy Dorsey, was in seclusion. Lee Castle, a trumpet player, directed the band.