Andy Williams (1927—2012) was an American singer with a career spanning more than seven decades. In 1938 he and his three older brothers joined forces to become the Williams Brothers quartet. They sang with Bing Crosby on a hit record (“Swinging on a Star”) and appeared in four musical films. In 1947, the brothers became (singer, actor, composer, author and vocal arranger) Kay Thompson’s backup singers—they debuted with her in Las Vegas and within a year were the world’s highest-paid nightclub acts. [At MGM Kay was the vocal coach to Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, Lena Horne who many other stars.] After Andy launched his solo career in 1953, Kay coached him and wrote many songs and arrangements for him, including “Kay Thompson’s Jingle Bells” (available to rent on the Christmas Songs page).
During his prolific career Andy recorded 43 albums—15 went gold and 3 went platinum; his worldwide record sales topped 100 million. From 1962 to 1971 he hosted “The Andy Williams Show,” a television variety show which won three Emmy awards. His frequent Christmas specials and eight Christmas albums earned Williams the appellation “Mr. Christmas.” He is, perhaps, most remembered for his rendition of Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer’s “Moon River.” In 1992, to honor the song, he named his theater in Branson, Missouri “The Moon River Theater.” Andy was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and, in 2008, he received the “Society of Singers Lifetime Achievement Award.”