Andy Williams, the singer behind the signature tune “Moon River,” died Wednesday after a year-long battle with bladder cancer. He was 84.
Andy started his career in the late 1930s, singing with brothers Bob, Dick and Don as The Williams Brothers quartet. He went solo in 1952 and switched from a cabaret act to covering the latest pop hits.
Andy enjoyed a string of hits throughout the late 1950s and 1960s, including “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” and “I Think I Love You.” His biggest success came singing “Moon River,” the theme to Audrey Hepburn’s cinema classic Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The son won an Oscar for Best Original Song in 1961.
The crooner achieved 18 gold and three platinum albums in his 75 year career. Neil Portnow, president/CEO of The Recording Academy, remembered Williams in a statement:
“Andy Williams’ smooth voice and casual style turned the songs he sang into timeless classics and made him one of America’s top pop singers. As host of his own weekly variety series, The Andy Williams Show, he helped put both established and emerging talent in front of American audiences. Williams was the first host of the live Grammy Awards telecast and hosted the show for seven consecutive years, beginning with the 13th Annual Grammy Awards in March 1971, at the Hollywood Palladium. The entertainment industry has lost a giant piece of its living history today, but Williams’ legacy will forever be enshrined in the annals of music and television. Our deepest condolences go out to his family, friends and all who will miss this American treasure.”
Andy is survived by his wife Debbie and his three adult children, Robert, Noelle and Christian.