Our Huckleberry Friend
September 26, 2012 1:34 PM Subscribe
posted by Sidhedevil (52 comments total)
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Popular US crooner Andy Williams, best known for singing the bittersweet "Moon River"
(YouTube link), is dead at age 84.
Peak Crooner had long been attained when Andy Williams started his career---the popular music craze begun by Rudy Vallee and Bing Crosby had reached its heights with Frank Sinatra, and was already the stuff of second-string Vegas casino stages and television variety shows hosted by the likes of Perry Como
, but Williams's smooth, melodic tones and his affable personality made him a favorite with audiences from his very first performance of "Moon River" on the 1962 Academy Awards broadcast. The Breakfast at Tiffany's
theme, by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer, won the Oscar, and launched Williams to stardom.
He eventually got his own television variety show
, which ran from 1962 to 1969, featuring performers as disparate as The Osmond Brothers and Elton John. Williams's appeal to older audiences remained strong (my own great-aunt Frances was a big fan) even as music tastes changed. He earned a number of gold records with largely forgettable ballads; though his rich voice and impeccable phrasing always shone, he never found another number as magically suited for him as "Moon River".
Eventually, like all US performers who primarily appeal to older white audiences, Williams opened a theater in Branson, Missouri. His was called the Andy Williams Moon River Theater, and he performed there until his health no longer permitted.