Singer Andy Williams died at his home in Branson, Missouri, Tuesday night after a year-long battle with bladder cancer, his family announced today. He was 84. Born on December 3, 1927, in Wall Lake, Iowa, Williams began his career as a child, singing in a quartet with his brothers. As an adult, Williams embarked on his career, which spanned six decades and produced several hit songs – including the omnipresent “Moon River” – and 17 gold or platinum albums.
In 1962, “The Andy Williams Show” debuted on NBC and ran for nine seasons. He also appeared in a dozen other TV specials between 1959 and 1987. He was perhaps best known for his Christmas specials. By the early 1990’s, however, he found his brand of crooning had lost appeal among the rock and hip-hop generation. He then opened the Moon River Theatre in Branson and performed regularly on its stage. It was the first non-country music venue in the area.
In November 2011, Williams announced that he’d been diagnosed with bladder cancer.
“The entertainment industry has lost a giant piece of its living history today, but Williams’ legacy will forever be enshrined in the annals of music and television,” said Neil Portnow, the president of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. “Our deepest condolences go out to his family, friends, and all who will miss this American treasure.”
This is Williams performing “Moon River” on his show. The song was written and composed by Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini for the 1961 movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”
Here’s another one of my favorite songs, “Girl from Ipanema,” that Williams performed with Antonio Carlos Jobim in 1965.