Singer Andy Williams passed away last night after a year long battle with bladder cancer. He was 84.
Williams rose to prominence in the mid-1950s as a regular on The Steve Allen Show. He had a string of hits throughout the late 1950s and early 1960s beginning with "Canadian Sunset" but would become best known for his rendition of the Johnny Mercer-Henry Mancini composition "Moon River" which was featured in the movie Breakfast at Tiffany's starring Audrey Hepburn. Ironically, it was never released as a single. Another notable movie song on which Williams crooned was "Born Free".
From 1962 to 1971, Williams hosted The Andy Williams Show on NBC. During the 1970s, Williams' music became closely associated with Christmas with his annual Christmas specials and recorded numerous Christmas albums. His best known Christmas song was "It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year".
For the past two decades, Williams was based in Branson, Missouri where he built his own theatre. Williams was instrumental in broadening Branson's appeal beyond country music.
Williams was a close friend of Robert F. Kennedy and was present when he was assassinated in 1968. He would sing "Battle Hymn of The Republic" at RFK's funeral.
However, despite his support of RFK, Williams was conservative in his politics and vocally critical of President Obama. In September 2009, Williams said:
Don't like him at all. I think he wants to create a socialist country. The people he associates with are very left-wing. One is registered as a Communist. Obama is following Marxist theory. He's taken over the banks and the car industry. He wants the country to fail.
Should Williams have lived long enough to see Obama defeated I'm sure he would considered it the most wonderful time of the year.
Ronald Reagan put it best when he said, "Andy Williams, I think we'll have to declare your voice a national treasure."