"Moon River and Me"

Moon River and Me - A Memoir by Andy Williams

I am such an Andy Williams fan. Does anybody even know who he is anymore? That easy smile and smooth voice - those sentimental songs and those corny Christmas specials. I have some of those old shows on dvd and re-watch them every December. They seem so innocent now. Forty years ago we were content to be entertained without cursing and dirty jokes. Whatever happened?

Andy Williams began singing with his 3 brothers, performing as "The Williams Brothers" while he was still a child. Later his brothers went their own way and he struck out on a solo career. He got parts on radio and tv shows and in a few movies. In the early 60s he starred in a tv show of his own on NBC: The Andy Williams Show. It was a variety show with different entertainers in guest appearances, including the Osmond Brothers. This is where Donnie and Marie Osmond got their start.

The show ran throughout the sixties with a few specials airing after the weekly show was cancelled. I remember sometimes gathering in the living room to watch the regular shows, but the Christmas specials were something special that we looked forward to for weeks. Back then Christmas shows were filled with gorgeous Christmas scenes, costumes, trees and snow and every song sung was a recognizable Christmas tune.

I love to read how people's careers began and developed and Williams' history is an interesting one. He met and worked with most of the big names in music of his time - Bing Crosby, Doris Day, Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope - and was quite close to the Kennedy family. He writes, too, about his personal life. There are stories about his parents and siblings and then later about his romantic relationships. He married and had children with the incredibly beautiful Claudine Longet. Later, he met his second wife, Debbie Haas, who he was married to for many years, until his death in 2012.

His theater in Branson, Missouri is still operating and annually puts on a Christmas show that is supposed to be somewhat reminiscent of his tv specials. Some of the Osmond brothers still sing there.

There's far more to his story than the little I've mentioned here, so if you're a fan, do pick up a copy of this enjoyable memoir.


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