Scatman CROTHERS was one of the greats. He was in show business for over 60 years and in a class with singers like Cab Calloway and Ella Fitzgerald. He often accompanied himself on either a 4-string guitar or a baritone uke, but I have been told by people who knew him that he was a fine Charlie Christian-type jazz guitarist. Although he had been active on the black vaudeville circuit for ages, he received mainstream attention of a sort after playing the bit part of Big Ben in the movie version of "Lady Sings The Blues". Motown soon released and album called BIG BEN SINGS which is unfortunately out of print, but well worth searching the used record shops for. The All Music Guide lists a CD released last September called OH YEAH. I have not heard it and cannot vouch for it, but the song selection is fine as wine.
He did a lot of small parts in movies in the 70's & early 80's, but had a pretty big supporting role in "The Shining", made occasional appearances on "Sanford & Son", and was a regular on "Chico & The Man". I think he died around 1986 or '87.