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Andy Williams


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Singer Andy Williams has died at age 84. While not an actor in the classic era, his Moon River, (written by Henri Mancini) is an important part of the film Breakfast At Tiffanys.

 

There was a Simpsons episode where Bart, Milhouse, Nelson and Martin go on a road trip. When they find out that close to the theater where Andy Williams is playing in Branson Missouri, Nelson forces them to go out of the way to get there.

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In the 1940s, Andy Williams sang in a backup quartet (along w/ his 3 brothers) for MGM's preeminent vocal arranger Kay Thompson. It was through this connection that Andy got a job singing on the soundtrack of *Good News* (1947), most notably on the Be a Ladies' Man number with Mel Torme, Peter Lawford, and Ray McDonald. I don't know if the other Williams Brothers also provided vocals for this film.

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I cant say I was into him (then or now) but sad nonetheless. His tv show seemed like it was on forever (think it was on the whole 60s decade) Unlike other variety shows, he showcased young performers as well. I remember Donovan, Sly and the Family Stone, Mama Cass etc. being on the show..........

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When I was working on the Warner Bros. 50th anniversary albums in 1973, we kept hearing a rumor that Andy Williams did the singing for Lauren Bacall in "to Have and Have Not" But although he could have been tested {he was about 16 at the time } it turned out that Hawks decided to let Bacall did her own singing. Maybe Bogie had a say in the matter? :x

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The rumor about Andy's voice being used for Bacall's singing had some basis. He did a recording of the song, but Bacall herself later said that they worked on her recordings and pieced together enough to use her own voice, which she said was not good at all. He was so young at the time (I figure about 16) and his voice so immature that it would have been possible to use his version, however. He was exactly my age, and I was 16 in 1944. (Isn't that depressing?)

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I'm with you, Hibi. What I mostly remember about him is from my youth. He was married to a French woman and often featured her on his TV show. She seemed a LOT younger than him, but I don't know the details. I especially remember the Christmas specials.

 

 

As for "Moon River," every time I hear it now, I think of Almodovar's "Bad Education" (2004).Lots of great acting. One of the central characters, a pedophile priest, likes to play "Moon River" and the music swells in the background of key scenes. So now when I hear it, it just creeps me out.

 

 

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Yes. Claudine Longet (not sure if I spelled it right) who had a brief singing career. And later shot Spider Savich (not sure of his spelling either) "It was an accident!"..............

 

Edited by: Hibi on Sep 27, 2012 9:41 AM

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I did more research on if Williams is the one singing in To Have and Have Not and according to Bacall it is her singing. Her book By Myself, page 108 and 109 talk about this. She does mention that she had to sing to a playback of a pre-recorded version of her doing the song and that while Hawks was satisfied with the recording, he thought one or two notes might have to be dubbed latter on. This may explain why her singing looks dubbed and not that natural in that sense.

 

Sorry for spreading that rumor about Williams but hey, it was nice while it lasted!

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Though never a Williams "fan", I felt he was essential to me in one way...I CANNOT get into the "Christmas spirit" without hearing Nat "King" Cole's "Christmas Song" and Williams' "Most Wonderful Time Of The Year". No two ways about it.

 

 

And while not into his kind of music, I did enjoy his TV show. He WAS an institution, and WILL be missed.

 

 

Sepiatone

 

 

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You can actually see Andy Williams and his brothers singing in the movie JANIE (1944), which is sometimes shown on TCM.

 

The movie stars Joyce Reynolds as the teen-aged title character, is directed by Michael Curtiz, and features Edward Arnold and Ann Harding as Janie's parents, Hattie McDaniel as their housekeeper, and Robert Benchley as a family friend. It's a cute comedy about wartime bobby-soxers in a small city who become infatuated with the young soldiers at a nearby army base, much to the consternation of Janie's father, who is editor/owner of the town's newspaper. The Williams Brothers appear in a scene where Janie gives a party for her friends and some of the soldiers, with many in the cast, including Andy and his siblings, joining in a song. It's a lot of fun to see the teen-aged Andy, who is very recognizable, although he appears only briefly. (According to Wikipedia, the Williams brothers were also featured in KANSAS CITY KITTY (1944), SOMETHING IN THE WIND (1947), and LADIES MAN (1947).)

 

One of the few available recordings featuring the Williams Brothers that I'm aware of is Bing Crosby's "Swinging on a Star." The brothers sang back-up vocals on the hit record, but weren't featured in the film GOING MY WAY, where Bing performed the Oscar-winning song with cast members from the Robert Mitchell Boy Choir.

 

You may remember Andy singing with his three older brothers, Bob, Don, and Dick, on his 1960s Christmas specials. By then, the Williams Brothers quartet had been broken up for over a decade, but Andy always gathered his brothers, parents, and his own wife and children to join him on the annual holiday shows. Even as they entered middle age, the Williams Brothers still sang very, very well together. I wish someone would put out a CD of their holiday songs from these TV shows.

 

I always enjoyed Andy's TV show when I was growing up in the 60s, but I didn't really listen to his records because my musical tastes were more inclined toward the Beatles. Within the last decade, however, I became a huge fan of his first two Christmas albums ("The Andy Williams Christmas Album" and "Merry Christmas" -- sometimes known as the "red" and "green" albums, respectively), which I think are among the very best holiday collections.

 

With my admiration for him growing, about 7 or 8 years ago I took my wife's mom to see Andy's Christmas concert at Constitution Hall here in DC. I'm glad I went -- even in his 70s, he still had a great voice and put on a very entertaining show. It was made even more fun when he introduced some of his friends in the audience: astronaut John Glenn, Ethel Kennedy (Robert's widow), and George Stevens, Jr. (founder of the American Film Institute and son of the eminent director). Because the concert featured a few sing-along segments, I joked to my mother-in-law afterward that she could tell her friends back in Iowa (where Andy was originally from) that she had sung Christmas songs with John Glenn and Ethel Kennedy during her trip to Washington.

 

I'm sorry to see Andy go. To quote one of his hits in a different context, "Can't get used to losing you..."

 

Edited by: BingFan on Sep 27, 2012 2:59 PM

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