Who was Scatman Crothers?
Scatman Crothers, born as Benjamin Sherman Crothers, was an American actor, dancer, singer, and musician. He was best known for appearing as Louie the Garbage Man on the television show ‘Chico and the Man’ and as Dick Hallorann in the horror flick ‘The Shining’. The actor had also appeared in many other TV programs, such as ‘The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo’, ‘Hong Kong Phooey’,’ Casablanca’ and ‘Paw Paws’. His vast filmography included movies like ‘The Return of Gilbert and Sullivan’, ‘East of Sumatra’, ‘Porgy and Bess’, ‘The Patsy’, ‘Chandler’, ‘Friday Foster’ and ‘Silver Streak’. Crothers, who was a voiceover artist as well, provided his voice to the characters of several animated projects including ‘Harlem Globetrotters’, ‘The Transformers’, ‘The Transformers: The Movie’ and ‘The Aristocats’, to name a few. As a musician, the American artiste performed on drums and piano in several bands. He also recorded many solo albums as well as singles. Coming to his awards and honors, Crothers won the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in ‘The Shining.’
Career in Music
At the age of 15, Scatman Crothers began his musical career as a drummer in a local speakeasy band. He played a variety of instruments, including guitar and drums, in bands in his early days. He then formed his own band and travelled to Oakland with the band in 1948. He also recorded many solo albums and singles.
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Scatman Crothers made his official film debut in the 1953 flick ‘Meet Me at the Fair’. He then appeared in the movies ‘East of Sumatra’, ‘Johnny Dark’, ‘Tarzan and the Trappers’ and ‘Porgy and Bess’. From 1961 to 1969, the actor did several films out of which only ‘The Sins of Rachel Cade’ and ‘The Patsy’ got him acting credits. Then in 1970, Crothers lent his voice to the character of Scat Cat in the Disney movie ‘The Aristocats’.
After this, the actor got featured in the movies ‘The King of Marvin Gardens’, ‘The Fortune’, ‘Coonskin’, ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest’, ‘Silver Streak’ and ‘The Shootist’. In 1980, he was cast in the horror flick ‘The Shining’. His later film projects include: ‘Bronco Billy’, ‘Zapped’, ‘Two of a Kind’, ‘Twilight Zone: The Movie’ and ‘The Transformers: The Movie’.
Even though Crothers worked in the television at the beginning of his career, he came into prominence after doing voice-over work on numerous animated series, beginning with Disney's ‘The Aristocats’. He then did voice work for ‘Harlem Globetrotters’, ‘Hong Kong Phooey’, ‘Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels’ and ‘Trollkins’.
Additionally, the actor also made guest appearances on several popular shows including ‘Bewitched’, ‘McMillan & Wife’, ‘Dragnet’, ‘Adam-12’, ‘Kojak’, ‘Kolchak: The Night Stalker’, ‘Starsky and Hutch’, ‘Sanford and Son’, ‘Charlie's Angels’, ‘Taxi’ and ‘The Love Boat’, to name a few. Crothers starred in the short-lived television series ‘Casablanca’, ‘One of the Boys’ and ‘Morningstar/Eveningstar ‘. He also appeared in a supporting role on the sitcom ‘Chico and the Man’.
Scatman Crothers was born as Benjamin Sherman Crothers on May 23, 1910 in Terre Haute, Indiana, USA, to parents Fredonia Lewis and Benjamin Crothers. He married Helen Sullivan and raised a child with her.
A heavy smoker for most of his life, the actor was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1985. Despite his failing health, he continued working until he was too ill to even speak. On November 22, 1986, he died of pneumonia at his home in California, aged 76. He was later buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery, Los Angeles.