Bill Eckert was a member of the crew on the SS Tracy. The Greenbelts, an environmental safety organization, protested the arrival of the Quartermaine boat. It had just exploded and sank in Port Charles harbor. Harlan Barrett of Barrett Enterprises came to Port Charles to salvage the SS Tracy. He was impressed with Bill Eckert, who invented a unique machine which raised the ship. Harlan hired Bill as chief engineer with the promise of upward advancement in the company.
Bill is the cousin of the Spencer family who had just come to town with his young son, Sly Eckert , and recently divorced form his mother, Nancy. Bill's father died of a heart attack and Bill and his sister, Jenny Eckert, came into a large inheritance. Bill, now a wealthy man, moved into an abandoned lighthouse with his son Sly and Finian O'Toole, whom Bill had hired as a housekeeper. Bill was now dating Harlan's marketing genius daughter, Julia Barrett.Harlan brought her to Port Charles to run the cannery with ace in command, Bill Eckert.
Harlan Barrett, Leopold Taub, Cesar Faison, and Larry Ashton formed a cartel to control global business via the use of a toxic substance, carbon disulfide, manufactured at a cannery they purchased as a clever ruse for their operations and a place to brew the drug with which they intended to rule the world. Bill and Jenny were both kept in the dark about the cannery's real intentions.
Meanwhile, Nancy having heard about Bill's newfound wealth, promptly wanted custody of Sly. Bill saw the dollar signs in her eyes and would not give in to her blackmail. Nancy began spying on operations at the cannery and discovered the carbon disulfide. She used it to make Bill appear inebriated at Sly's custody hearing. The Cartel was worried with Nancy poking around and they wanted to make a still clueless Bill their newest member. The cartel then decided to eliminate Nancy.
Faison tried to use mind control to program Anna Scorpio to kill Nancy, but Anna and Robert Scorpio were on to Faison's plan. With the aid of a psychiatrist, she become immune to it. The Cartel's goal was attained anyway as Nancy was mysteriously murdered and Bill was the prime suspect! The real killer turned out to Bill's housekeeper and Sly's baby-sitter, Finian, who had a heated argument with Nancy and accidentally killed her.
Bill was brought into the Cartel, but a deliriously wicked Faison wanted Bill to prove himself before he was completely accepted. Bill's assignment was to kill Faison's nemesis, Robert Scorpio. By this time, Bill and Robert were good friends, so a "faux death" was arranged. Bill shot Robert on the waterfront, but Harlan was not fooled, so he decided to shoot Robert again. Bill shot and killed Harlan to protect his pal. A grief-stricken Julia promptly ended her relationship with Bill.
On Founder's Day, the Cartel was apprehended. Taub was killed and Faison escaped yet again. After Robert and Anna's presumed death Bill started dating Robert's widow Holly Scorpio. Scott Baldwin came across information that pointed to Lucy Coe in a Port Charles art heist. He told Bill and Holly who concluded that Lucy had fed information about the local paintings to the wealthy Richard Halifax. When Halifax realized Bill and Holly were on his trail, he returned of all the art...except Bill Eckert's painting, "Summer in Provence." This was the only painting Lucy did not know about. Halifax professed his innocence but Bill knew he was lying! Then Bill goes to Paris where he reclaimed his artwork and had a fling on the side behind Holly's back, with his old flame, Victoria. When Bill returned to Port Charles, Holly walked in on Bill and Victoria making love at his lighthouse. The spurned Holly was hell-bent on making the womanizing Bill pay! She smashed all the rare wines in his wine cellar, then left town.
In 1993, Bill and his cousin Luke Spencer came face to face when Lucky Spencer was sent back to Port Charles as his parents were still on the run from notorious mobster Frank Smith. Frank's men found Lucky staying with his friend/cousin Sly Eckert. They also found Sly's father Bill Eckert, who was the spitting image of Luke. Bill was trying to protect Sly and Lucky Spencer from a hitman. Bill was then shot in a case of mistaken identity. He died in Luke 's arms.