Monday, December 3, 2007

Birthday Wishes to My Huckleberry Friend

Andy Williams, whom I have been accused of liking, celebrates his birthday today. He sometimes claims to be 77, but he's really 80. Williams now mostly appears at his own Moon River Theatre in Branson, Missouri. It's a huge place, with a stage that's wider than a mile. Actually, "Moon River" was never really a hit for Andy, but it became his theme song after he sang it at the 1962 Oscars, where it won Best Song. (Audrey Hepburn sings it on the Breakfast at Tiffany's soundtrack.)

Andy stayed on the pop charts as late as 1971, when his theme from another movie, Love Story, hit Number Nine. Through the 1970s, he was also known for his lavish, family-oriented Christmas specials, which took on a bitter tinge in 1976 when Claudine Longet, whom Williams had recently divorced, was arrested for the murder of her lover, skier Spider Sabich. I am pretty sure that Claudine had continued to appear with Andy on his Christmas specials right up until then, which must have been the ultimate good news/bad news day for Williams: "Honey, I'm having an affair, but don't worry! I've killed him!"

I'm sure you'll be hearing Andy's "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" incessantly this holiday season. It sure beats "The Christmas Shoes," anyway.

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