Bandleader Skitch Henderson dead at 87

Nov. 2, 2005 at 10:09 AM
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NEW HAVEN, Conn., Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Grammy-winning conductor/arranger Lyle "Skitch" Henderson, who led the first band for "The Tonight Show," has died in New Haven, Conn. He was 87.

Henderson died of natural causes Tuesday at his home in New Milford, Conn., the Los Angeles Times reported.

The conductor of the NBC Symphony Orchestra and founder of the New York Pops Orchestra made headlines in 1975 when he was sentenced to six months in jail for filing false tax returns.

Among the witnesses called during his nine-day trial in New York federal court were fellow conductors Leonard Bernstein and Henry Mancini.

Henderson had inflated the value of his music library to $350,000 and backdated its donation to the University of Wisconsin to save roughly $40,000 in income taxes.

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