Stephen McKinley Henderson

Stephen McKinley Henderson is an American actor. He is known primarily for his work onstage, notably in several of August Wilson's plays, and he has made appearances in film and TV.

Early life and education

Henderson was born in Kansas City, Missouri, the son of Ruby Naomi and Elihue Henderson. He spent a year at Lincoln University, Missouri and was originally part of Group 1 at the Juilliard School Drama Division before he left. He finished his BFA in Acting at the North Carolina School of the Arts. He later studied at Purdue University where he received his Master of Arts in Theatre. He also spent summer sessions at Rose Bruford College in London and William Esper Studios in New York City.


Henderson is known mostly for his stage work. He won the 2015 Obie Award for Best Actor for his starring role of Walter "Pops" Washington in the Atlantic Theatre Company and Second Stage productions of the Pulitzer Prize winning play Between Riverside and Crazy. He portrayed Jim Bono in the Broadway revival of August Wilson's Fences, starring Denzel Washington, for which Henderson received a Tony Award nomination as a supporting actor, as well as the Richard Seff Award from Actor's Equity; he reprised the role in Washington's 2016 film adaptation. Also in 2016, Henderson appeared in Kenneth Lonergan's Manchester by the Sea, starring Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams, playing the boss of Affleck's character. Previously, he appeared as Van Helsing in the Broadway production of Dracula, the Musical. More recently, he played the role of Father Leviatch in Greta Gerwig's 2017 film Lady Bird. On Broadway, he has performed in Drowning Crow, the revival of Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, and the premiere of King Hedley II. Henderson is recognized as a veteran performer of August Wilson's oeuvre.
His signature August Wilson role is the gossipy Turnbo in Jitney for which he won a Drama Desk Award. He had created the role in the 1996 premiere at the Pittsburgh Public Theater, then honed it in other regional theaters before its arrival Off-Broadway in 2000. Though they did not transfer to Broadway, he and the core of the cast took Jitney to London where it won the 2002 Olivier Award for best new play. In addition, he appeared in A Raisin in the Sun and directed Zooman and the Sign. With the LAByrinth Theatre Company, he portrayed Pontius Pilate in The Last Days of Judas Iscariot.
His films include, his role as Arthur in Everyday People, White House servant William Slade in Steven Spielberg's film Lincoln, Lester in the film Tower Heist, Bobo in A Raisin in the Sun, Cooper's husband in the TV movie Marie, and roles in the films Keane, If You Could Say It in Words and Lady Bird. In addition to his films, Henderson was a series regular on the FOX series New Amsterdam, which premiered in early 2008.
Television work includes Law & Order, ', The Newsroom, ', Tyler Perry's House of Payne, Third Watch, New Amsterdam, Blue Bloods and Devs.