Andy Williams, whose name was inevitably associated with Moon River, has died. He was 84 and had suffered from bladder cancer.
Moon River was written by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer, and Audrey Hepburn introduced it in the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but but it was Mr. Williams who made the song indisputably his own when he sang it at the 1962 Academy Awards ceremony and titled a subsequent album after it. Incidentally, years later, when New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and his wife, Myra, celebrated their 40th anniversary celebration, Elton performed their wedding song, Moon River, at the event.
Andy also had a programme on NBC, where it ran from 1962 to 1971. The Andy Williams Show, which won three Emmy Awards for outstanding variety series, offered entertainment from rising stars like Elton and the Mama and Papas as well as more established acts, with Judy Garland among them.
Lyricist Don Black, who penned the song Born Free, which Andy recorded in the ’60s, described him as the “ultimate professional.”
“He was a great guy, he was very professional but didn’t take himself too seriously. That type of performer doesn’t exist anymore. It’s gradually becoming the end of an era.”
Black said he would miss ”all that he stood for,” and noted how much he ”loved the audience.”
Donny Osmond, who treasures the memories of receiving voice lessons at the age of 7 from the crooner, said Williams helped shape his love of music.
The singer is survived by his wife, Debbie, and three children, Robert, Noelle and Christian.