BRANSON, Mo. (AP) — He wasn't the first to sing "Moon River" -- which was performed by Audrey Hepburn in "Breakfast at Tiffany's." But Andy Williams made it his own -- and he once wrote that he didn't like hearing anyone else sing it.
Williams died last night at his home in Branson, Mo., at the age of 84. He was diagnosed with bladder cancer last year and never got well enough to return to his theater in Branson.
His popular TV show in the 1960s first introduced the nation to the Osmond family. And through his Christmas specials, he became closely associated with the holiday standard "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year."
The Oscar-winning theme to "Love Story" was one of his many top 10 hits.
Williams became a major star in 1956, the same year as Elvis Presley, with the swing number "Canadian Sunset." For a time, he was pushed into such Elvis Presley imitations as "Lips of Wine" and the No. 1 smash "Butterfly."
But he mostly stuck to what he called his "natural style" and kept it up throughout his career.
176-r-58-(Sound of Andy Williams, singing "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year")--Archive sound of Andy Williams singing "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year," a hallmark of his annual Christmas specials. (26 Sep 2012)
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152-a-14-(Andy Williams, in 1994 AP Radio interview)-"I recorded it"-Andy Williams told AP Radio in 1994 that he knew right away that "Moon River" would be a hit. (26 Sep 2012)
<<CUT *152 (09/26/12)>> 00:14 "I recorded it"
154-r-46-(Sound of Andy WIlliams, singing "Moon River")--Sound of Andy Williams singing "Moon River." (26 Sep 2012)
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GRAPHICSBANK: ANDY WILLIAMS headshot, singer, with 1927-2012 lettering, finished graphic (26 Sep 2012)
APPHOTO CADD102: Flowers are left at the star of performer Andy Williams star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles, Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012. Williams, who had a string of gold albums and hosted several variety shows and specials such as, "The Andy Williams Show," died Tuesday at his home in Branson, Missouri, following a yearlong battle with bladder cancer. He was 84. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes) (26 Sep 2012)
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APPHOTO SPANNYET922: El cantante Andy Williams en los premios Grammy en Los Angeles. Williams, quien tuvo varios discos de oro y condujo diversos programas de variedad y especiales como "The Andy Williams Show" murió el martes 25 de septiembre de 2012 en su casa en Branson, Misuri, tras luchar un año contra el cáncer de vejiga. Tenía 84 años. (Foto AP/Lennox McLendon, archivo) (23 Feb 1978)
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APPHOTO NYET923: FILE - This Feb. 6, 2009 file photo shows Andy Williams arriving at the MusiCares Person of the Year tribute in Los Angeles. Williams, who had a string of gold albums and hosted several variety shows and specials such as, "The Andy Williams Show," died Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012, at his home in Branson, Missouri, following a yearlong battle with bladder cancer, his Los Angeles-based publicist, Paul Shefrin, said Wednesday. He was 84. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, file) (6 Feb 2009)
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