Bothwell played in Chicago in 1940 and then moved to New York City, playing with Woody Herman (1943) and Sonny Dunham (1944–46). He was a key member and featured soloist of Boyd Raeburn's groups in 1944–45, and played with Gene Krupa in 1945. He formed his own groups between 1945 and 1949, and held a residency at the Tin Pan Alley Club in Chicago as well as in New York and Boston.
Bothwell essentially gave up music after 1949, moving to Miami, Florida. He owned a number of bands but did not return to playing for the rest of his life.