Scatman Crothers

Actor, Dancer, Singer, & Musician

[on working with director Stanley Kubrick in The Shining (1980)] “That movie was all right to make, but you know, Stanley likes to do a lot of takes. It gets kind of boring, but when you take a job, you do it.”

Drummer, scat singer, and actor who appeared in the 1980 horror film The Shining and did voice-overs for animated shows like The Transformers and the Harlem Globetrotters.

Benjamin Sherman Crothers (May 23, 1910 – November 22, 1986) known as Scatman Crothers, was an American actor, singer, dancer and musician known for his work as Louie the Garbage Man on the TV show Chico and the Man and as Dick Hallorann in Stanley Kubrick's The Shining (1980), the latter of which earned him the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor.

Scatman Crothers

He was also a prolific voiceover artist, and provided the voices of Meadowlark Lemon in the Harlem Globetrotters animated TV series, Jazz the Autobot in The Transformers television series and The Transformers: The Movie (1986), the title character in Hong Kong Phooey and Scat Cat in the animated Disney film The Aristocats (1972).


Career

Crothers started his musical career as a 15-year-old drummer in a speakeasy band in his home town of Terre Haute. He played a variety of instruments, including drums and guitar, on jazz club band circuits in his early days as an entertainer. Among the people for whom he performed was the notorious gangster, Al Capone.

Crothers formed his own band in the 1930s and traveled to Oakland, California, with the band in 1948. He played piano at the Port O’ Call and Walt's 405 Club. He also appeared in a 1950 episode of The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show performing “Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy” with Harris, who introduced him as Scatman Roth. He left Oakland to stay in Los Angeles in 1952.


Scatman Crothers

Film

Crothers made his official debut in the movie Meet Me at the Fair (1953). He worked in both movies and television, often taking bit parts. He also made musical shorts and played drums with Slim Gaillard in the mid-1940s. Crothers then landed a major supporting role in the 1970 animated film The Aristocats from Walt Disney Productions, providing the voice of “Scat Cat”.

He also performed the film's theme song “Ev’rybody Wants to be a Cat”. Good friends with Jack Nicholson, he appeared in four of his films: The King of Marvin Gardens (1972), The Fortune, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), and as Dick Halloran in The Shining (1980).


Death

A heavy smoker most of his life, Crothers was diagnosed with lung cancer in late 1985, but he kept his condition a secret in order to continue working. The cancer eventually spread to his esophagus by mid 1986, rendering him unable to speak which more or less ended his career. He died of pneumonia on November 22, 1986, at his home in Van Nuys, Los Angeles, California at age 76.


Quick Facts

Birth Date:
May 23, 1910

Death Date:
November 22, 1986


  • Scatman Crothers
  • Scatman Crothers
  • Scatman Crothers

Similar Entries

Harry Belafonte Music

Harry Belafonte

Harry Belafonte is an American singer, songwriter, activist, and actor. One of the most successful Jamaican-American pop stars in history, he was dubbed the “King of Calypso” for popularizing the Caribbean musical style with an international audience in the 1950s.

Read More
Jim Brown Sports

Jim Brown

James Nathaniel Brown is an American former professional football player and actor. He was a running back for the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League (NFL) from 1957 through 1965.

Read More
Bernie Casey Film & TV

Bernie Casey

Bernard Casey was an American actor, poet, and professional football player. He was an actor and director, known for Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989), Revenge of the Nerds (1984) and Never Say Never Again (1983).

Read More
Dorothy Jean Dandridge Film & TV

Dorothy Jean Dandridge

Dorothy Jean Dandridge was an American film and theatre actress, singer, and dancer. She is perhaps one of the most famous black actresses to have a successful Hollywood career and the first to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress in the film Carmen Jones.

Read More
Delroy Lindo Film & TV

Delroy Lindo

Delroy Lindo is a British-born American actor and theatre director. Lindo has been nominated for Tony and Screen Actors Guild awards and has won a Satellite Award. He is perhaps best known for his roles in three Spike Lee films, Malcolm X, Crooklyn, and Clockers.

Read More
Oprah Winfrey Film & TV

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey is a media executive, actress, talk show host, television producer and philanthropist. She is best known for her talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show, which was the highest-rated television program of its kind in history and ran in national syndication for 25 years from 1986 to 2011.

Read More