Bill Henderson, 90, Noted Jazz Vocalist And Actor, Passes
April 7, 2016 at 12:39 PM (PT)
BILL HENDERSON, who started out as a jazz vocalist and became a character actor in movies on the urging of BILL COSBY, died of natural causes in LOS ANGELES at the age of 90.
The CHICAGO native sang with the RAMSEY LEWIS TRIO, DIZZY GILLESPIE, COUNT BASIE, FRANK SINATRA, TONY BENNETT, QUINCY JONES and CHARLIE HADEN, among others. His 1963 album with the OSCAR PETERSON TRIO, is considered a standout in jazz.
HENDERSON appeared at a number of PLAYBOY JAZZ events, including the concerts at the HOLLYWOOD BOWL as well as the MONTEREY and LITCHFIELD JAZZ FESTIVALS.
Jazz critic LEONARD FEATHER wrote of HENDERSON's phrasing, as "virtually his own copyright.... He tends to space certain words as if the syllables were separated by commas, even semicolons, yet everything winds up as a perfectly constructed sentence.”
HENDERSON relocated to HOLLYWOOD in 1967 and pursued an acting career that included roles in "The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai," "Clue," "City Slickers," "White Men Can't Jump," "Maverick," "Lethal Weapon 4" and "Smiling Fish & Goat on Fire," as well as TV shows including "ER," "Hill Street Blues," "Happy Days," "Sanford And Son," "The Jeffersons," "Good Times," "MacGyver," "Benson," "NYPD Blue" and "My Name Is Earl."
HENDERSON sang and dance at the age of 4, and began working with VIC DAMONE while in the ARMY.
In 1957, HORACE SILVER hired him to record a vocal version of the instrumental “Senor Blues” for BLUE NOTE RECORDS, which became one of the biggest-selling singles in the label’s history.
Most recently, he released a self-produced live album, "Beautiful Memory."
Survivors include his daughter MARIKO.