Singer Andy Williams died Tuesday night, following a year-long bout with cancer. He was 84. An all-around entertainer perhaps best known for his signature song “Moon River,” Williams died in Branson, Missouri, where he owns the Moon River Theater.
Williams recorded 18 gold and three platinum records in his lifetime. He hit No. 1 just once on the Billboard charts, for 1957’s “Butterfly,” though he’s probably better known for other songs—not only “Moon River,” but also “Are You Sincere,” “Can’t Get Used To Losing You,” and “Where Do I Begin,” the theme song for the movie Love Story.
In addition to hosting seven consecutive Grammy telecasts, Williams also hosted the TV variety hour The Andy Williams Show from 1962-1971, giving it up while it was still popular and cutting back to just three specials a year. Williams' Christmas specials, which ran intermittently from 1962 into the 1990s, were wildly popular, earning Williams the moniker "Mr. Christmas."
In 1968, Williams started his own record company, Barnaby Records, which released the first record from Jimmy Buffett, as well as several records by Ray Stevens, including top 10 hits like 1974's “The Streak."
It was Stevens who first invited him to Branson, where Williams would open his famed stadium-style theater. Since 1992, it's played host to entertainers ranging from Robert Goulet to Pat Benatar to David Copperfield, as well as his annual Christmas show. Though he'd announced that he planned to take its stage again this month, his last appearance there was in November 2011.