He often performed with Ramsey Lewis, and he soon became known for his vibrant, blues-influenced voice. In the late 1950’s, he spent some time in New York where he began playing and recording for Vee-Jay (1959-61) with leading musicians such as Horace Silver. During the same period that Nat Adderley, Eddie Harris, Wynton Kelly and Yusef Lateef were recording for the label as well.

In the early 60s, Mr. Henderson returned to Chicago to continue singing with Ramsey Lewis. He spent two years as featured singer with the Basie Band, shared a recording date with Oscar Peterson, recorded Horace Silver’s Senõr Blues, and worked with Count Basie in Las Vegas in 1965. Shortly after, Bill Cosby brought Mr. Henderson into the acting profession. 

Since then, Bill Henderson has lived in Los Angeles, pursuing an active career in film and television that makes his appearances as a jazz singer rare events. He occasionally appears live in clubs such as the Oak Room of New York's Algonquin Hotel with the 2002 pop-jazz revue, Made for the Movies: A Hollywood Songbook, alongside Eric Comstock, and Dena DeRose. Mr. Henderson was nominated for a Grammy Award for Something’s Gotta Give--A Tribute to Johnny Mercer. 

He has acted in scores of movies including City Slickers and Lethal Weapon 4. Mr. Henderson appeared in a show-stealing turn as a retired Hollywood soundman in the independent film Smiling Fish and Goat on Fire, and his voice is also heard singing ballads over the final credits. Mr. Henderson's television credits include starring roles in Take the High Road (1980), Ace Crawford Private Eye (1983), and Dreams (1984). He has appeared in may guest roles, including in The Twilight Zone, Happy Days, Sanford and Son, Harry-O, Good Times, Diff’rent Strokes, Hart to Hart, The Incredible Hulk, Benson, Hill Street Blues, The Facts of Life, Hardball, Picket Fences, In the Heat of the Night, NYPD Blue, ER, Malcolm & Eddie, 7th Heaven, and Cold Case. Mr. Henderson's recordings are available on Koch Records (Bill Henderson, His Complete Vee-Jay Recordings, Vols. 1 & 2). He and Shirley Horn both perform as vocalists with Charlie Haden and Quartet West on Haden’s Grammy -nominated CD The Art Of The Song with Shirley Horn. 

Bill's final commercial album was the release of his Live At The Kennedy Center performance with the Ed Vodicka Trio, recorded in November 2004 and released to coincide with his 80th birthday in 2006.

Bill Henderson Discography


WebOnlyJazz “Live At the Kennedy Center”
1992 20th Century Fox “White Men Can’t Jump” Soundtrack
1982 Discovery “A Tribute to Johnny Mercer” W/ Joyce Collins & Dave Mackay
1980 Discovery “Street of Dreams” W/ Joyce Collins & Dave Mackay
1975 Discovery “Live At The Times” W/ Joyce Collins & Dave Mackay
1965 Verve “When My Dream Boat Come Home” W/ Strings arr. By Rene Hall, Jimmy Jones, Bobby Scott
1963 MGM “Bill Henderson Sings with Oscar Peterson” W/ Trio
1961 Veejay “Bill Henderson Sings” W/ Eddie Higgins Trio, Tommy Flannagan Quartet, Thad Jones Big Band, Jimmy Jones Strings
1958 Veejay “Bill Henderson Sings” W/ Ramsey Lewis Trio & Wynton Kelly Sextet arr. By Benny Golson and Ernie Wilkins


1986 (Pub. Svc.) “Keep the Dream Alive” – For the Jazz to end Hunger Foundation 1968 “Something” “Ain’t That a Shame” W/ Orch. Arr. By Mike Melvoin “What are You Doing the Rest of Your Life”
1968 Warner Bros/Reprise “Marley Purt Drive” W/ Orch. Arr. By Mike Melvoin “Living With You”
1965 Verve “Yesterday” W/ Count Basie (BASIE’S BEATLE BAG Album)
1959 Veejay Int’l “Please Send Me Someone to Love” W/ Eddie Harris
1957 Bluenote “Senior Blues” W/Horace Silver Qintet “Angel Eyes” W/ Jimmy Smith Trio
1956 Riverside “Busy Signal” (By Henderson/Don Newey) “How Long Has This Been Going On” W/ Hank Jones Quintet

Bill Henderson Filmography


McBride: The Chameleon Murder (2005) (TV) .... Judge Bigaloo
"Cold Case" - A Time to Hate (2003) TV George Polk/Tinkerbell
"Hard Ground" (2003) (TV) ... Junior Gunn
"7th Heaven" - Twelve Angry People (2000) TV Episode .... Caleb
"Malcolm & Eddie" - A Fowl and Stormy Night (1999) TV Episode (voice)... Uncle Gus
Goat on Fire and Smiling Fish (1999) .... Clive Winter
Trippin' (1999) .... Gramps Reed
"ER" - Double Blind (1999) TV Episode .... Charley Barnes
Kiss of a Stranger (1999) .... Buster
Lethal Weapon 4 (1998) .... Angry Patient (with urine sample)
"Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction"
- Blind Man's Dog (1998) TV Episode .... Lloyd Weeks
"Promised Land" - Total Security (1998) TV Episode .... Mel Roylance
"Mad About You" - The 2nd Mrs. Buchman (1998) TV Episode .... Mets Shortstop
"Living Single" - He's the One (1997) TV Episode .... Old Man #2
"Timecop" - Public Enemy (1997) TV Episode
"Sparks" - Dog Gone (1997) TV Episode .... Mr. Hill
Hoodlum (1997) .... Mr. Redmond
Conspiracy Theory (1997) .... Hospital Security
Ghosts of Mississippi (1996) .... Minister
"NYPD Blue" - Burnin' Love (1996) TV Episode .... Verdis
'Weird Al' Yankovic: (There's No) Going Home (1996) (TV) (uncredited) .... Blind Lemon Yankovic
Maverick (1994) (as Bill Handerson) .... Riverboat Poker Player
"Roc" - No Place Like Home (1994) TV Episode .... Matthew
"In the Heat of the Night" - A Correct Setting (1993) TV Episode .... Reverend
"Picket Fences" - The Lullaby League (1993) TV Episode .... Toobah Varney
White Men Can't Jump (1992) .... The Venice Beach Boys
City Slickers (1991) .... Dr. Ben Jessup
"Dear John" - John's Night Out (1990) TV Episode .... Pete
"Hardball" - Till Death Do Us Part (1989) TV Episode
Cousins (1989) .... Valhalla Band
"227" - Bull's Eye (1987) TV Episode .... Sgt. Stokes
Kingpins (1987) (TV) .... Vince Hines
"MacGyver" - Birth Day (1987) TV Episode .... Gas Station Cashier
"Valerie" - The Root of All Evil (1986) TV Episode .... Mr. Avery
"The Twilight Zone" - Night of the Meek/But Can She Type?/The Star (1985) TV Episode .... Policeman
"The Facts of Life" - Jazzbeau (1985) TV Episode .... Art Jackson
"Dreams" (1984) TV Series .... Torpedo
"Ace Crawford, Private Eye" (1983) TV Series .... Mello (1983)
"Hill Street Blues" - The Russians Are Coming (1983) TV Episode .... Maynard
"Benson" - Benson's Army Reunion (1982) TV Episode .... Jay
Continental Divide (1981) .... Train Conductor
"The Incredible Hulk" - Babalao (1979) TV Episode .... Babalo
"Diff'rent Strokes"
- Arnold's Girlfriend: Part 1 (1979) TV Episode .... Attendent
- Arnold's Girlfriend: Part 2 (1979) TV Episode .... Attendent
"Good Times" - Requiem for a Wino (1977) TV Episode .... Ray
- The Judy Cohen Story (1976) TV Episode .... Nightclub Owner
"What's Happening!!" - Trial and Error (1977) TV Episode .... Charles Hopkins
"The Jeffersons" - George's Guilt (1977) TV Episode .... JoJo
"Harry O"
- Death Certificate (1976) TV Episode .... Spencer Johnson
- APB Harry Orwell (1975) TV Episode .... Spencer Johnson
- Tender Killing Care (1975) TV Episode .... Spencer Johnson
- Shades (1975) TV Episode .... Spencer Johnson
Louis Armstrong - Chicago Style (1976) (TV) .... Charles Rudolph
"Sanford and Son" - Bank on This (1975) TV Episode .... Harvey
"Happy Days" - The Best Man (1974) TV Episode .... Mr. Davis
The Bill Cosby Special, or? (1971) (TV)