Andy Williams Dies at 84
Music and television icon Andy Williams died Tuesday evening (Sept. 25) at his home in Branson, Mo., his family confirmed. The star, who had battled bladder cancer since 2011, was 84 years old.
Born Howard Andrew Williams in Wall Lake, Iowa, the entertainer was the son of a railroad worker. He sang in the church choir with his three older brothers, and that led to his first professional gig when they launched a quartet called the Williams Brothers, which had some regional success in the Midwest.
Williams launched a solo career in 1952, and appeared regularly on 'The Tonight Show,' but struggled to score a hit until 'Canadian Sunset' landed him at No. 7 in 1957. A string of hits followed, including his only No. 1 hit, 'Butterfly,' as well as 'Are You Sincere,' 'I Like Your Kind of Love' and 'Can't Get Used to Losing You.'
In 1961 he recorded 'Moon River,' the theme song for the film 'Breakfast at Tiffany's.' The song won the Academy Award for Best Original Song, as well as a Grammy for Record of the Year, and it became virtually synonymous with Williams. Ironically, because it was not officially released as a single, Williams' best-known song was never actually a chart hit for him.
Williams launched a successful variety show in the '60s and would later stage a series of successful Christmas specials. Though best known for his pop and easy listening material, the crooner also recorded some country music, beginning with 'You Lay So Easy on My Mind' in 1974. That album featured songs from top Nashville writers like Billy Sherrill and Buddy Killen, including 'I Love My Friend' and 'My Elusive Dreams,' both of which were No. 1 hits for Tammy Wynette. Williams returned to country music for 1991's 'Nashville,' and in 1992 he launched the Andy Williams Moon River Theater in Branson, where he performed off and on for the rest of his life while in semi-retirement.
Williams is survived by his second wife, Debbie, and his three children Robert, Noelle and Christian.