Your sorrowful Peasant is breaking the sad news to you,
my wonderful readers, regarding one of America's
most beloved entertainers of all time, Andy Williams.
After a year-long battle with cancer of the bladder,
the crooner, who is known for his beautiful treatment
of "Moon River" and perennial Christmas favorite
"The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" passed to a
higher stage this week. Williams was 84.
I wanted to post this obituary and tribute to Williams
as soon as I heard the sad news, so this is a rare
occasion of your dependable Peasant posting twice
in one day.
Hugely popular in the 1960s, with a long-running TV
show, 18 gold records and 3 platinum records, Williams
was the veritable king of easy listening music.
Born in Wall Lake, Iowa, Williams sang in his family's
church choir along with his brothers Bob, Dick, and Don
--- as adults they would achieve renown as a singing
group, and would sometimes sing together on Andy's
show, and their experience gained singing in their church
would serve as fine training for their professional
singing endeavors. After WWII, the brothers joined
entertainer Kay Thompson in her sophisticated
nightclub act, and were coached by Thompson herself.
Williams won an Oscar for his rendition of "Moon River",
the hit song from the celebrated 1961 film "Breakfast at
Tiffany's". The song became his TV show's theme song
and for many fans became Williams' own theme song as
well. He would get his TV show in 1962, a show which
would air until 1971.
The Wall Lake singing sensation would go on to host the
Grammys and the Golden Globes over the years, and
would host Christmas specials in which Williams would
wear his distinguished trademark red cardigan sweater,
becoming an annual presence in many American homes.
Williams was survived by his wife Debbie, his three
children Robert, Noelle and Christian, and his his
ex-wife, French-born dancer Claudine Longet. His
birthplace is a tourist attraction, and in the 1990s he
opened the Moon River Theater in Branson, Missouri,
having named it for the song that he made so famous
three decades earlier.
Andy Williams was a great favorite in my family,
and my parents and I always made it a point to watch
him on TV at every opportunity. They don't make
entertainers like Andy Williams anymore, and that is
to our detriment.
Godspeed, Andy. Thanks for all the fun.