Grammy-winning conductor SKITCH HENDERSON died yesterday (01NOV05). He was 87.

Henderson, who worked with a host of stars including Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby, passed away in his New Milford home.

The conductor, real name LYLE RUSSELL CEDRIC HENDERSON, hit the big time after a stint as a pianist for Judy Garland lead to a job at Hollywood studio MGM.

Founding band the NEW YORK POPS, becoming the first TONIGHT SHOW bandleader and working as musical director for radio shows LUCKY STRIKE and THE PILCO HOUR were among Henderson's greatest achievements.