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Scatman Crothers Has Inoperable Tumor

July 23, 1985

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Actor Scatman Crothers, whose roles have ranged from a telepath in ″The Shining″ to a magical senior citizen in ″The Twilight Zone,″ has an inoperable tumor behind his left lung, his publicist said Tuesday.

Crothers, 75, who was in intensive care at Beverly Hills Medical Center in Los Angeles, underwent surgery Monday morning following a two-week stay and will undergo chemotherapy, publicist Jerry Zelenka said.

″He’s doing fine. He’s communicating fine. He’s reading. He’s doing anything you or I can do,″ nursing supervisor Rosemarie Essler said Tuesday.

Crothers’ wife was visiting him frequently, she added.

″The tumor was behind the left lung,″ Zelenka said. ″Evidently it’s in such a position that it’s hard to cut out, and the doctors felt it was best just to leave it there because if they had taken it out, it could have killed him.″

He said he did not know if the tumor was cancerous.

Crothers’ illness came as a surprise to the normally fit actor, Zelenka said.

″He was coughing up some blood and they went for X-rays,″ Zelenka said. ″He was playing golf two days before he went into the hospital. It’s a daily ritual.″

Crothers, who lives in Van Nuys, will likely remain hospitalized another week and will undergo four to six weeks of chemotherapy as an outpatient, the publicist said.

″He’s taking it very well,″ Zelenka said. ″He’s a very religious man. He’s not ready to die, but we don’t think it’s at that point.″

″Knowing him, he may bounce back (from surgery) like the president,″ Zelenka added, referring to President Reagan’s recent surgery for cancer of the colon.

Zelenka said he did not believe Crothers was engaged in any ongoing film or television projects.

Crothers, whose real name is Sherman Crothers, began a 60-year entertainment career in a band, later moving to films and television.

He played Louie the garbageman in the NBC series ″Chico and the Man″ from 1974 to 1978.

His better-known recent roles were in Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film ″The Shining″ and Steven Spielberg’s ″The Twilight Zone″ in 1983.

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