Williams is one of the few that have been equally successful in music as well as television. “The Andy Williams Show” ran on CBS and NBC from 1959 through 1971 and featured various performers, including acts such as The Osmonds. The show received three Emmy awards and Williams received two Emmys as the host.
Williams met his first wife in 1960 when he stopped to aid her on the side of a road in Las Vegas. Claudine Longet was 18 years old and the lead dancer for the Folies Bergere at the Tropicana Resort. Williams was 32 years old at the time. He and Longet were wed the following year on December 15, 1961. The couple had three children together – Noelle, Christian and Robert. In 1970, the couple legally separated, later finalizing their divorce in 1975. According to Williams, they always remained good friends.
It wasn’t until May 3,1991 that Williams remarried to Debbie Meyer. The couple was introduced to each other by a common friend. Williams and Meyer remained married for the rest of Williams’ life.
It wasn’t until late 2011 that the media reported that Williams had been diagnosed with bladder cancer. Williams confirmed the report at a surprise performance he held at the theatre he owns in Branson. This theatre was built by Williams to allow a greater variety of musical groups to have the opportunity to perform in the Branson area, which previously had only provided venues that catered to country music.
Williams and his wife moved for a time to Los Angeles to work with cancer specialists in the area. Recently, he seemed to be improving in his health and intended to take the stage once again this month. Unfortunately, this was not to be.
Williams may be best known musically for the song “Moon River” as well as his many popular Christmas albums. In fact, he released so many Christmas albums and is so popular during the season, that he is often referred to as “Mr. Christmas.” Generations going forward, who didn’t have the opportunity to view his television show, will continue to know Williams because of his beautiful crooner voice and his prevalence during the holidays. Unfortunately, few of them will get to know the kind, warm and genial person that was behind the voice.
Thank you Andy Williams for all the beauty you have brought to the world.
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