Sep 26, 2012
Andy Williams' cause of death was complications from bladder cancer, according to his medical doctors.
Andy Williams exploded onto the music scene along with Elvis Presley and Pat Boone in 1956 with the hit songs "Canadian Sunset," "Lips of Wine" and the #1 smash, "Butterfly."
After singing "Moon River" at the 1962 Academy Awards ceremony, Andy Williams was a household name.
Williams followed up his TV fame with the album, Moon River. His decade-long Emmy-winning TV program, "The Andy Williams Show," had "Moon River" for its theme song, and Williams eventually named his own Branson concert venue the Andy Williams Moon River Theater.
While "Moon River" paved the way for Andy Williams' long music career, the singer had scores of other hits like "Love Story," "Charade," "The Way We Were," "Days of Wine and Roses," "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year," "Can't Take My Eyes Off You," "The Hawaiian Wedding Song," "Lonely Street," "Can't Get Used to Losing You," "The Shadow of Your Smile," "Are You Sincere?" and the song that wouldn't die, "Music to Watch Girls By."
On "The Andy Williams Show," the singer gave valuable TV exposure to young musicians like The Beach Boys, Ray Charles, The Mamas & The Papas, The Temptations, The Osmonds, Smokey Robinson, Cass Elliot and Elton John when they started their music careers. None of these stars ever forgot Williams' loyalty.
The legendary Andy Williams Christmas Specials were celebrated as a wholesomely entertaining American tradition every holiday season. As well, Williams was the popular host of the Grammys telecast for several years.
Williams was famously married to popular French singer-actress Claudine Longet, 70, with whom he had three children. Though the couple divorced in the mid-1970s, Andy Williams supported Longet during her trial over the death of her boyfriend, Olympic skier "Spider" Sabich. She remembers Williams' loyalty to this day.
"I'm devastated," lamented Claudine Longet from Paris. "I am simply devastated. Andy was my rock."
Though a longtime conservative Republican, Andy Williams was best friends with Democratic Senator Robert F. Kennedy and he sang "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" at Kennedy's 1968 funeral, bringing the nation to tears. RFK never forgot Williams' loyalty.
Andy Williams went up against his own Republican Party, criticizing President Nixon, whom he helped get elected. Williams was furious about the Nixon administration's efforts to deport John Lennon, and he publicly spoke against it. Lennon never forgot Williams' loyalty and neither has Yoko.
"Such a loss in so many ways," declared Yoko Ono. "A man of such integrity will continue to be missed."
A citizen of California for many years, Andy Williams died owning a home in La Quinta in the Coachella Valley of Riverside County, California. The fate of Andy Williams' last residence is not yet clear.
For 21 years, Williams was the host of the famous Andy Williams Golf Tournament in San Diego, and the late superstar is still officially listed as one of America's top-100 art collectors.
Howard Andrew Williams was born on Dec. 3, 1927 to a railroad company mail clerk and a homemaker.
When young Andy Williams was 5, he and his brothers started singing in their Christian church's choir because their dad was the choir director.
The Williams Brothers were a hit on the church circuit, and the group soon began performing on radio to rave reviews.
The Williams Brothers were a template for groups like The Bee Gees, The Osmonds, The Jackson 5 and The Jonas Brothers.
Their parents moved the boys to Los Angeles, California, where Andy Williams' first job was dubbing Lauren Bacall's singing voice in the 1944 Hollywood film, To Have and Have Not.
Immediately afterward, Andy and his brothers landed a gig as backup singers for megastar Bing Crosby before touring with singing sensation Kay Thompson for five consecutive years.
As a young adult, Andy Williams went solo and landed a long gig on NBC's "Tonight" show, hosted by Steve Allen. Afterward, the singer signed his own recording contract. The rest is entertainment history.
At the turn of the millennium, British car TV commercials used his eternal rock hit, "Music to Watch Girls By," sparking a massive Andy Williams comeback on a worldwide scale.
Once again, the ageless blue-eyed singer was on top of the music charts --- as a rock star --- in his seventies.
The live music video below shows a very hip Andy Williams for the 21st century, donning sunglasses and quite comfortable among loud electric guitars and screaming girls --- unshakable coolness until the end.
What a life. What a cool life, indeed.
The late Andy Williams is survived by his wife of 21 years, Debbie Haas-Williams, 58, along with his children, grandchildren, brothers, friends, colleagues and countless fans who mourn the death of Andy Williams.
"Almost everybody else in show business fights and gouges and knees to get where they want to be. I'm not constructed temperamentally along those lines."
Andy Williams 1927-2012