Andy Williams dies aged 84
Andy Williams has died at his home in Branson, Missouri, after a year-long battle with bladder cancer, aged 84.
In 1962, he started The Andy Williams Show, which was broadcast around the world and went on to win three Emmys.
Since the 1990s, he had run the Andy Williams Moon River Theater in his home town.
Andy Williams was one of the most enduring stars of the 1960s and ’70s whose easy style and mellow voice led President Ronald Reagan to call him “a national treasure”.
A new generation discovered Andy Williams’ music when Music to Watch Girls Go By made the Top 10 in 1999 after being used in an advert.
He described Moon River as his “signature song” which had a “wonderful” melody and “timeless” lyrics.
“I never tried to sing like anybody else, fortunately I didn’t sound like anybody else. It just happened,” said Andy Williams.
“I was very lucky that I had a voice that sounded different to almost anybody else’s and it’s recognizable.”
Andy Williams died on Tuesday night and is survived by his wife, Debbie, and his three children, Robert, Noelle and Christian.
Howard Andrew Williams was born in Iowa and started singing professionally with his three brothers as the Williams Brothers Quartet.
They worked in night clubs and on radio and backed Bing Crosby on his number one record Swinging on a Star in 1944.
Andy Williams’ TV show made him an international star and launched a recording career that spawned such hits as Butterfly, Love Story, Can’t Get Used to Losing You and Almost There.
The show lasted nine years and will be remembered by many for introducing the Osmond family to the world.
Andy Williams became a major star in 1956, the same year that Elvis Presley shot to fame, and was well loved in the 1960s.
“The old cliché says that if you can remember the 1960s, you weren’t there,” said the singer.
“Well, I was there all right, but my memory of them is blurred – not by any drugs I took but by the relentless pace of the schedule I set myself.”
In 1962 he married Claudine Longet, a French actress and singer, with whom he had three children before their divorce in 1975.
Andy Williams revealed in November 2011 he had been diagnosed with bladder cancer but said he planned to continue performing at his own theatre.
He said at the time that bladder cancer was “no longer a death sentence” and that “people with cancer are getting through this thing”.
“They’re kicking it, and they’re winning more and more every year. And I’m going to be one of them,” he went on.
Andy Williams left hospital in July to spend his final days at home with his family.
In lieu of flowers, his family has asked that donations be made to the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network.
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