Singer Andy Williams Dead At 84
By Ivetta Babadjanian
Sep 26, 2012 - 8:39:58 PM
BRANSON, MISSOURI—Renown singer Andy Williams died on Tuesday, September 25, after a year long battle with bladder cancer in his home at Branson, Missouri. He was 84.
Williams began his singing career when he was a child along with his brothers in a quartet. The four brothers performed on the radio stations WHO in Des Moines, Iowa, WLS in Chicago, and WLW in Cincinnato. The quartet, titled the Williams Brothers, were featured on Bing Crosby's hit record "Swinging On a Star" in 1944. They also performed in four musical films, "Janie," "Kansas City Kitty," "Something in the Wind" and "Ladies' Man."
It wasn't until 1953 that Williams basked in the spotlight as a solo act. After receiving a regular spot on "Tonight Starring Steve Allen" in 1954, Williams was signed to a small New York label. His third single, "Canadian Sunset" reached number seven in the Top Ten in 1956 followed by his first and last number one hit in 1957 of the Charlie Gracie cover "Butterfly."
During the 1960s,
Williams was considered one of the most popular vocalists in the country
and signed what was at the time the biggest recording contract in
Over the years,
Williams continued to produce music that landed him in the Top Ten
charts with songs such as "Lonely Street," "Are You Sincere" and "Can't
Get Used to Losing You."
Williams career continued to flourish as he hosted his own show, titled "The Andy Williams Show," that was broadcasted in various forms on the networks ABC in 1958, CBS in 1959 and the most notable five-year run on NBC.
Although ratings were not great as the program was aired on various networks at different times, the show was still rewarded with three Emmy Awards for Outstanding Variety Series. With regulars such as The Osmond Brothers, Williams gave up the variety show in 1971 and and reduced his show to three specials per year.
His Christmas specials appeared throughout the years until the 1990s and it was one of the most popular in its genre. Williams soon became known as "Mr. Christmas" as he recorded eight Christmas albums and received acclaimed success for the song "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year."
Ironically, the song that Williams was most recognized for, "Moon River," was never actually a chart hit. The song was originally sung by Audrey Hepburn in the movie "Breakfast at Tiffany's." Williams covered the song and performed it at the Academy Awards in 1962 where the song won for that year's Best Original Score. The song became Williams' theme song and his theater was named after the song when it opened in 1992.
Williams received 18 gold albums, three platinum albums, and was nominated for a
Grammy Award five times. He continued to produce music that reached
high on the charts until 1978.
Williams married French dancer Claudine Longet on December 15, 1961 and together they had three children: Noelle, Christian and Robert. After a long separation, the couple finalized their divorce in 1975. Williams married again in 1991 to the former Debbie Meyer and they remained together until his death.
William is survived by his second wife, three children, six grandchildren and three brothers.
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