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TV Bandleaders

Skitch Hendersen - The show business sobriquet of the bearded Lyle Russell Cedric Henderson who was the bandleader for THE TONIGHT SHOW starring Steve Allen from 1954-57 and THE TONIGHT SHOW starring Johnny Carson from 1962-66 on the NBC network.

Skitch Henderson's SKITCH...TONIGHT! album

Besides his TONIGHT SHOW gig as bandleader, Henderson was also the musical director for Frank Sinatra, accompanist for Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Judy Garland and founder and leader of the New York Pops Orchestra at Carnegie Hall in New York.

In 1983, Skitch founded the New York Pops. He later received the James Smithson Bicentennial Medal from the Smithsonian Institution in recognition of his contributions to American Culture.

A legacy of Henderson's works (The Skitch Henderson Collection) now resides at the UW–Madison’s Mills Music Library at the University of Wisconsin.

Henderson claimed somewhere along the line he was dubbed "Skitch" and it just stuck. Entertainment lore claims that Henderson earned his nickname because of his ability to "sketch" out a score quickly. People soon began to call him "the sketch kid," which singer Bing Crosby urged him to shorten to "Skitch."

Born Lyle Russell Cedric Henderson on January 27, 1918 in Birmingham, England, noted composer, conductor, and bandleader Skitch Henderson died of natural causes on November 1, 2005 in New Milford, Connecticut.


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