Benjamin Sherman “Scatman” Crothers was a pioneer actor, singer, dancer, and musician known for his work as “Louie the Garbage Man” on the TV show “Chico and the Man.” He was also recognized for being a prolific voiceover artist, and provided the voices of Meadowlark Lemon in the animated TV version of “The Harlem Globetrotters,” Jazz the Autobot in “The Transformers,” and Scat Cat in the 1970 animated Disney film “The Aristocats.”
Crothers was born in Terre Haute, Indiana, on May 23, 1910, to Benjamin and Donnie Crothers. He started his musical career at the age of 15 as a drummer in a speakeasy band in his hometown. Although he was known for playing the drums, he could play a variety of other instruments.
He picked up the name Scatman when he auditioned for a radio show in 1932 at the former WSMK in Dayton, Ohio. The director didn’t think his given name was catchy enough, so Crothers quickly concocted the handle Scat Man.
He made his official debut in film in the movie “Meet Me at the Fair” in 1953. Besides appearing in movies and television, he made musical shorts as well. Crothers made several guests appearances on television shows, such as “Sanford and Son,” “Kojak,” “Ironside,” “Bewitched,” “Starsky and Hutch” and many others. Crothers died in 1986 at the age of 76.