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A look at the career of Andy Williams, king of easy listening

September 26, 2012|By Chris Barton
  • Andy Williams in 2009.
Andy Williams in 2009. (Chris Pizzello / Associated…)

Andy Williams, easy-listening singer of familiar pop hits such as "Can't Get Used to Losing You," "Days of Wine and Roses" and the Oscar-winning "Moon River" died at his home in Branson, Mo., on Wednesday. He was 84 years old.

The singer's career spanned seven decades and began as he became a regular on Steve Allen's "Tonight Show," which led to chart success as well his own "Andy Williams Show," an Emmy-winning variety program that ran from 1962-71 and included a yearly run of Christmas specials that became a holiday tradition. Williams also became the face of the Grammy Awards in the 1970s, hosting the show from 1971-77 as well as its 25th annual show in 1983.

In his later career, Williams was a fixture at the Midwestern music destination Branson, Mo., where he became the first non-country music performer to open a theater in the city, the Andy Williams Moon River Theater in 1992. Each year he presented his annual Christmas show in the theater during November and December into this decade.

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Williams enjoyed a left-field resurgance in the U.K. in 1999 with the use of "Music to Watch Girls By" in a car commercial, which was re-released and became a top 10 hit.

Late in life Williams appeared on TV as much for his political leanings as his musical ones, becoming a guest on shows with Fox News personalities Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and Mike Huckabee in the past five years.

Williams was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2011 and had been receiving treatment in Los Angeles. Below, watch a clip of Williams performing "Moon River," a song he performed at the 1962 Academy Awards and immediately became his signature tune.

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Twitter: @chrisbarton

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