American actor and musician. (1910-1986). Full name: Benjamin Sherman Crothers. He was born in Terre Haute, Indiana and started out as a jazzman and comedian -- he taught himself how to play guitar and drums when he was a kid, then formed a band that traveled the Midwest during the 1930s. He earned his nickname during this period because he was an expert scat singer.

After appearing in his first movie (1935's "Symphony in Black") in an uncredited role as a man who jilts Billie Holliday, Crothers took a break from films until the 1950s. His acting career didn't really pick up until the late '60s, when he appeared in a fairly prominent role as Mr. Jones in "Hello, Dolly!," followed the next year by a voice part in Disney's "The Aristocats" as Scat Cat and in the television cartoon of "The Harlem Globetrotters" as Meadowlark Lemon.

After that, Crothers and his trademark bald head, broad smile, and gravelly voice were in "Lady Sings the Blues," "The King of Marvin Gardens," "The Fortune," and "Truck Turner," among other films, and he appeared prominently on television as Louie the garbage man on "Chico and the Man" and as the hero in the "Hong Kong Phooey" cartoon. He played Orderly Turkle in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," Ralston in "Silver Streak," Moses Brown in "The Shootist," Mingo in "Roots," Dick Hallorann in "The Shining," and Doc Lynch in "Bronco Billy." And he continued to have a fairly strong connection to the Globetrotters, playing Nate Branch in the "Super Globetrotters" cartoon and Dewey Stevens in "The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island."

Later roles were less prominent, including small parts in "Zapped!," "Working," a short-lived "Casablanca" TV series, "Twilight Zone: The Movie," "Transformers," "The Journey of Natty Gann," and his last movie, "Smart Alec." He died of lung cancer in Van Nuys, California, on November 22, 1986.

Research from the Internet Movie Database (

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