Howard Andrew Williams was born in Wall Lake, Iowa on December 3, 1927.
Father's name: Jay Emerson
Mother's name: Florence
Brother: Bob, Don, Dick
Spouse: Claudine Longet, Debbie Haas
Children: Noelle, Christian, Bobby
"Mr. Moon River"
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Party Affiliation: Republican
Andy Wiliams was born Howard Andrew Williams on December 3, 1927 in Wall Lake, Iowa. As a youngster, Williams performed in a church choir with brothers Bob, Dick and Don, before they formed the Williams Brothers quartet in the late 1930s. The group had great success on Midwestern radio stations, eventually landing a nightclub gig with comedian Kay Thompson from 1947 to 1951. In 1952, Williams launched his solo career. After a slow start, he started churning out a number of hit singles, including "Canadian Sunset," "Butterfly" and "The Hawaiian Wedding Song." Williams then moved to Los Angeles to sign the biggest recording contract of the time with Columbia Records. By 1973, he had recorded more than 17 gold records, including Moon River, Love Story and Days of Wine and Roses. Williams's vocal technique and easy-listening sound made him one of the most popular singers of his era. His rendition of "Moon River"—written by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer—from the movie Breakfast at Tiffany's was released on his 1962 album, Moon River and Other Great Movie Themes. One year earlier (in 1961), "Moon River" won an Oscar (best original song)—following its film debut in Breakfast at Tiffany's (sung by Audrey Hepburn). Williams performed the popular song at the Oscars in 1962. That same year, Williams leveraged his popularity to debut his own TV variety series on NBC, The Andy Williams Show. The show won three Emmy Awards and lasted until 1971, continuing into the 1990s as an annual Christmas special featuring Williams's entire family. In 1992, the legendary singer opened the Andy Williams Moon River Theater in Branson, Missouri, where he performed to sold-out crowds for years. Williams was married to dancer Claudine Longet from 1961 to 1969. He married a second time in 1991, to Debbie Haas. Williams died on September 25, 2012, following a years-long battle with bladder cancer. He was survived by his wife, Debbie, and three children from his marriage to Longet: Robert, Noelle and Christian.
Williams attended Western Hills High School in Cincinnati, but finished high school at University High School in West Los Angeles as a result of his family's move to California
Williams was a Singer, actor and record producer. He began his solo career in 1954 as a regular on Tonight with Steve Allen. His smooth approach to singing covers led to a series of highly successful singles on the Cadence label. Although he moved to Columbia Records in 1961, he became the owner of Cadence in 1964. As such, he owned the master tapes to the Cadence recordings of the Everly Brothers, Lenny Welch, the Chordettes and Johnny Tillotson. In 1968, Williams formed Barnaby Records to handle re-issues of the Cadence material as well as new artists including Ray Stevens and Jimmy Buffett. It was during the 1960s that Williams' career flourished. He released "Moon River" as the title track of his second Columbia album. The song, though never a single, became his theme song. He sang it at the 1962 Oscar Awards show and it won the award for best song. When Caesar's Palace opened in 1966, Williams starred in the stage production of "Rome Swings" and headlined there for the following twenty years. He also hosted 'The Andy Williams Show' from 1962-1971 as well as a series of extremely popular Christmas specials that earned him the nickname of "Mr. Christmas". Williams, although a staunch Republican, was a close friend of Robert and Ethel Kennedy. Williams was in the hotel the night RFK was assassinated and sang "Battle Hymn of the Republic" at the funeral. Williams was an outspoken defender of John Lennon's right to stay in the United States when the Nixon Administration tried to deport the former Beatle. A caricature of Williams is included in the montage on the cover of Ringo Starr's 1973 LP "Ringo". Williams opened the Moon River Theater in Branson, Missouri in 1992. It was the first non-country venue in the country town. It was the crowning achievement of his very long, very successful career. He performed regularly with many of his closest friends and fellow entertainers. In November of 2011, he was diagnosed with bladder cancer. He spent time in California and Texas seeking treatment and returned to Branson in July of 2012, intending to return to the stage in September. That never happened and the stage which he helped design will be filled with music by those friends in the wake of his passing.
On September 25, 2012, Williams died at the age of 84 of bladder cancer
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