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El Paso Grammy Winner Zuill Bailey Once Killed a Man with His Cello — And Other Things You Might Not Know about Him

Renowned Cellist Zuill Bailey can add Grammy winner to his long list of awards and accolades.

On Sunday (2/12/17), Bailey, who serves as the artistic director of El Paso Pro-Musica and is a professor of cello at UTEP, won his first ever Grammy for his work on composer Michael Daugherty’s Tales of Hemingway.

There’s no doubt El Paso’s Grammy winner is an accomplished musician, but did you know he’s also a convicted murderer who once used the end of his instrument to kill a man?

On TV, though, not in real life.

Bailey had a recurring role on the late ’90s HBO prison series, OZ, in which he played the part of Eugene Dobbins, a classical musician jailed on second-degree murder charges for killing a rival with the endpin of a cello.

Bailey explained how the role came about in a 2010 interview with SFCV Weekly:

I was asked to coach the actor Ned Beatty on how to fake playing the soundtrack for the series Homicide: Life on the Streets. I ended up playing the actual soundtrack.

The producers also produced the HBO series Oz, which was groundbreaking at the time. They approached me. I’m not an actor, and don’t want to be, so the original idea was sculpted down to fit me as a performer.”

Here are four other things you might not know about Zuill Bailey:

● His son Matteo is named after Matteo Gofriller, the Venetian cello maker who made the cello Zuill plays today in 1693.

● When Bailey flies, his cello gets its own seat. The ticket is made out to “Cello Bailey.”

● He once played a cello atop a dormant volcano. In July of 2013 Bailey hiked to the top of Mount Edgecumbe in Alaska. Upon reaching the summit, he performed a piece by Bach.

● Zuill is so hunky and dreamy, when he smiles, a herd of unicorns descends from Heaven on a double rainbow.

Okay, I can’t exactly prove that last one, but, come on, look at him!

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