Tributes to 'Moon River' balladeer Andy Williams

Stars including Donny Osmond have been remembering Andy Williams, the singer, whose tunes were among the defining songs of the Sixties and Seventies.

The man with the melodic voice behind Moon River, Music to Watch Girls By and Can't Take My Eyes Off You died at his home in Missouri on Tuesday after a year-long battle with cancer.

In a career spanning more than 50 years, the crooner recorded 18 gold and three platinum albums. He also won three Emmys and inspired countless other performers.


Donny recalled having singing lessons with him as a seven-year-old.

He told the BBC: "When I finally joined my brothers and toured with Andy as his opening act and back-up singers, I was always impressed with the way he handled an audience. He loved the audience.

"That was one of the most important lessons he taught me.

"He truly was a great singer and I will ever be indebted to Andy for giving me the opportunity to fulfil my dreams and the opportunity to be personally inspired by such a generous talent."

His brother Jimmy said with Andy "the Osmonds probably wouldn't have been around". 

Like Donny and Jimmy he began performing with his brothers at a young age, and became a major name in 1956, the same year that Elvis Presley shot to fame.

But it was his Oscar-winning version of Moon River which propelled him to new heights.

Written by Henry Mancini, it was covered countless times much to the star's chagrin.

"When I hear anybody else sing it, it's all I can to do stop myself from shouting at the television screen, 'No! That's my song!'" he wrote in his 2009 memoir titled Moon River and Me.

The road to fame hadn't been easy – at one point Andy was forced to eat food intended for his dogs because he was so broke.

Having worked so hard to make it, the entertainer never thought about retirement.

Those who loved him, his second wife Debbie and the three children of his first marriage Noelle, Christian, and Robert, knew that he lived to perform.

He said in a 2001 interview"I'll keep going until I get to the point where I can't get out on stage."