Mellifluous voiced 1960s “Moon River” crooner ANDY WILLIAMS is dead at 84 from bladder cancer in Branson, Missouri.
With his long running TV series where he introduced The Osmonds to the world, Andy seemed a dead beat square in a world seemingly turned revolutionary.
Yet Andy launched his solo career the same year as Elvis Presley, he followed in the footsteps of such swingers as Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra not The King.
He outlasted many of the one-act wonders who dominated pop music, charting well into the 1970s and continued to perform in his 80s at the Moon River Theatre he built in Branson, Mo.
After first performing with his brothers in a quartet, in 1941, Andy, barely a teenager, was picked by director Howard Hawks to dub Lauren Bacall's singing voice in the Hemingway WW drama "To Have and Have Not." His voice remained din the film until the previews until it was cut and then redubbed by Bacall herself.
But Williams is best remembered for his rendition of “Moon River” the title track from the classic film “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” starring Audrey Hepburn as Truman Capote’s heroine Holly Golightly. It wads initially sung by Audrey in the film iteself but when the director Blake Edwards heard Andy do it, he insisted he cut the title track.
"When I hear anybody else sing it, it's all I can to do stop myself from shouting at the television screen, `No! That's MY song!'" Williams recalled in his 2009 memoir, titled "Moon River and Me."
"The Andy Williams Show," which ran through the turbulent 1960s and into 1971, won three Emmys and featured Williams alternately performing his catalog of hits and bantering with his guest stars.
On the show Andy into’d- the original four singing Osmond Brothers of Utah. Their younger sibling Donny also made his debut on Williams' show, in 1963 when he was 6.
In the the wake of Bobby Kennedy’s assassination in 1968 he was seen frequently squiring RFK’s widow Ethel Kennedy. Willliams denied any romantic involvement but the movie mags had a field day.
In 1976, Andy’s ex-wife, Vegas showgirl Claudine Longet, shot and killed her lover, skiing champion Spider Sabich. Longet, who claimed it was an accident, spent only a week in jail.
In despite of media madness, Andy stood by her, escorting her to and from the courthouse and testified on her behalf.
As the years rolled on and despite being diagnosed with bladder cancer, retirement was not an option. "I'll keep going until I get to the point where I can't get out on stage," he told AP .
This year marked Andy’s 75th anniversary in show business but despite vowing to return to the stage, he didn’t make it.
“Moon River, wider than a mile, I'm crossin' you in style some day, Oh dream maker, you heart breaker
Wherever you're going, I'm going your way . . .”
PHOTO GALLERY: REMEMBERING ANDY WILLIAMS 1927-2012