Legendary crooner Howard Andrew “Andy” Williams, born December 3, 1927, was a true American Idol long before the crass TV show of the same name ever reared its ugly head. During his career he spread his wings wide; releasing not only a staggering 18 Gold records as well as three Platinum–certified albums, but also hosting his own TV variety show, “The Andy Williams Show”, between 1962 and 1971. He also owned the Moon River Theatre in Branson, Missouri (named after the hit song ‘Moon River’).
It was during the 1960s that Williams hit the heights, becoming one of the most popular vocalists in the country and that led him to signing what was at the time the biggest recording contract in history. As a solo artist he sold masses of records, his smooth and soothing tones putting him just behind Frank Sinatra, Johnny Mathis and Elvis Presley in the sales stakes.
In the mid 1970s he reached 18 gold album awards which included hit albums Moon River, Days of Wine and Roses, The Andy Williams Christmas Album, Dear Heart, The Shadow of Your Smile, Love, Andy, Get Together with Andy Williams, and Love Story.
He will probably me most fondly remembered for Moon River which was penned by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer, which, despite its success was never actually released as a single.
In his spare time Williams loved a round of golf or two and hosted the PGA Tour golf tournament in San Diego from 1968–88 at Torrey Pines.
He was diagnosed with bladder cancer on November 4, 2011 which he confirmed to the public during a surprise at his Moon River Theatre that weekend. He underwent chemotherapy and other treatments and by July 2012 was said to be making a good recovery at his Missouri home.
On September 25, 2012 it was announced that he had died at his home, aged 84.