Andy Williams, who hosted his own popular variety show in the ’60s and ’70s and was the famous crooner behind “Moon River”, has died of bladder cancer. He was 84 years old.
As a young man, Williams formed a singing group with his three brothers and saw early success when they were invited to record a song with Bing Crosby on his record “Swinging On A Star”. The brothers eventually landed their own nightclub gig, but Williams veered onto a solo path shortly after.
After a few modest successes with his singles, Andy hit his stride as a regular guest on “Tonight With Steve Allen”; the exposure brought him a record deal, and from then on it was smooth sailing. He went on to have a string of hits, and quickly became associated with the popular song “Moon River”, although Henry Mancini actually wrote it. The number was featured in the Audrey Hepburn film “Breakfast At Tiffany’s” and helped raise Andy’s profile even more, although it was never officially released as one of his singles.
Williams quickly solidified himself as a major player in the music biz, at one time earning more gold records than anyone except Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, and Johnny Mathis–a record 18 gold, with an impressive 5 platinum albums to top it off.
“The old cliche says that if you can remember the 1960s, you weren’t there,” the singer once said. “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.”
Indeed, despite being diagnosed with bladder cancer last year, Williams assured fans he would continue to work the stage at his Moon River Theater in Missouri for as long as he was able.