Scatman Crothers (born Benjamin Sherman Crothers, May 23, 1910 - November 22, 1986) was an American actor, singer, dancer and musician. Crothers was born in Terre Haute, Indiana and was best known for his work as a musician/singer and on the TV show Chico and the Man as Louie the Garbage Man (singing: "Stick out your can, 'cause here comes the garbage man!") He was also a guest on Sanford and Son, and, as "Bowlegs", memorably joined Redd Foxx for a duet. Crothers got the name Scatman when he auditioned for a radio show in 1932 in Dayton, Ohio. The director didn't think his given name was catchy enough, so Crothers told the director to call him "Scat Man" because of his talent at scat singing. He continued to enjoy this talent throughout his career, even teaching scat singing to college students. Later, the nickname was condensed to "Scatman" by Arthur Godfrey. (Crothers should not be confused with Scatman John, who had the hit "Scatman" in 1995.)
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. He formed his own band in the 1930s and finally traveled to California with the band in 1948.
He did an uncredited turn as a dancer in the Jealousy segment of the Duke Ellington short, Symphony in Black (1935), dancing with a woman in his apartment before taking her out. He encounters his jilted lover, played by the also uncredited 20-year-old Billie Holliday. They briefly have words, he pushes her down and exits with his new girlfriend before her song.
He decided to try acting and made his debut in the movie Meet Me At The Fair (1953). He worked in both the movies and television, often taking bit parts. He also made musical shorts.