Andy Williams

Performer / Host


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his one-and-a-half hour interview, Andy Williams (1927-2012) discusses his early career working in his brothers' singing group on stage and in radio, before embarking on a solo career. He speaks about his early appearances on television (his first solo appearance was on The Ed Sullivan Show), and talks of being cast as a regular singer on Steve Allen's Tonight Show. He then details hosting his own series, The Andy Williams Show, and discusses the production schedule, the origins of "Cookie Bear," some of his favorite guest stars (including Judy Garland, Bobby Darin, Elton John, -- and the Osmond Brothers -- whom he is credited with discovering), and talks about the show's segue into a series of Christmas specials. In conclusion, he discusses establishing his own theater in Branson, Missouri, recalls some of the most-requested songs that he's asked to perform, offers advice to aspiring performers, and reflects on career highlights and regrets. Karen Herman conducted the interview on September 19, 2005 in Branson, MO.

"George Wyle, the vocal director and who wrote all of the choir stuff and all of the duets, trios and things that I did with the guests, wrote a song just for the second Christmas show we did, called 'Most Wonderful Time of the Year.' I did that every Christmas, and then other people started doing it, and over 30 years, it's become a big standard."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Andy Williams on his start in entertainment - singing with his brothers when he was eight years old
Andy Williams on the origins of "Cookie Bear" on The Andy Williams Show
Andy Williams on the discovery of the Osmond Brothers and their guest appearances on his shows
Andy Williams on "Moon River" - his show's theme song, and having Henry Mancini on the show
Andy Williams on his Christmas specials and songs and bringing his family onto the program
Andy Williams on how he'd like to be remembered
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early family life; on growing up in Iowa; on his start in entertainment - singing with his brothers when he was eight years old; on moving to Chicago and performing on radio; on moving to Ohio and then to Los Angeles; on starting a group with his brothers and Kay Thompson; on the start of his solo career
On Bill Harbach getting him onto Tonight; on his first solo TV appearance -- on The Ed Sullivan Show; on the genesis of The Andy Williams Show and on guests Elton John, the Osmonds, Woody Allen, and Jonathan Winters; on the rehearsal process and scripts for the show; on welcoming guests onto the show

Chapter 2

On the many guest stars on The Andy Willams Show over the years, including Judy Garland and Bobby Darin; on how involved he was in selecting guests for The Andy Williams Show ; on the origins of "Cookie Bear"
On working with Bob Hope, Steve Allen, Dinah Shore, Sonny and Cher, and many others; on guests he was not able to get on The Andy Williams Show and guests that surprised him
On the crew of The Andy Williams Show and changes to the show during its last two years; on his show's theme song, "Moon River"; on his Christmas specials and bringing his family onto the program; on being associated with the song "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year"

Chapter 3

On why The Andy Williams Show went off the air in 1971 and on continuing to do Christmas specials even though he and his wife were separated by that time; on guest appearances on other shows; on his then-current projects; on the Andy Williams Moon River Theatre; on the most requested songs that he performs; on fan mail that he receives and how people interact with him on the street
On the highlight of his career - the ten years he was on weekly television with The Andy Williams Show; on career regrets; on growing up in the industry and on how the industry has changed since he started; on advice to an aspiring television performer; on not having formal music training; on his mentor, Kay Thompson, and on mentoring the Osmond Brothers; on how he'd like to be remembered
Shows

Academy Awards, The

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Andy Williams on "Moon River" - his show's theme song, and performing the song at The Academy Awards

Andy Williams Show, The

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Andy Williams on the genesis and early cast and crew of The Andy Williams Show that replaced The Garry Moore Show on CBS
Andy Williams on the format of his CBS program The Andy Williams Show that replaced The Garry Moore Show, and initially turning down the offer for his own show on NBC, then accepting it later
Andy Williams on new talent he debuted on The Andy Williams Show -- Elton John
Andy Williams on appearances by Woody Allen and Jonathan Winters on The Andy Williams Show
Andy Williams on the rehearsal process and scripts on The Andy Williams Show; on welcoming guests onto the show
Andy Williams on guests on The Andy Williams Show -- Judy Garland and Bobby Darin
Andy Williams on the origins of "Cookie Bear" on The Andy Williams Show
Andy Williams on guests he was not able to get on The Andy Williams Show and guests that surprised him
Andy Williams on the crew of The Andy Williams Show and changes to the program during its last two years
Andy Williams on "Moon River" - his show's theme song, and having Henry Mancini on the show
Andy Williams on standards that he sang on The Andy Williams Show
Andy Williams on guests on The Andy Williams Show
Andy Williams on why The Andy Williams Show went off the air in 1971 and on continuing to do Christmas specials even though he and his wife were separated by that time
Andy Williams on appearing on Donny & Marie and Donny & Marie's appearances on The Andy Williams Show
Andy Williams on the highlight of his career - the ten years he was on weekly television with The Andy Williams Show

Andy Williams Specials

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Andy Williams on the discovery of the Osmond Brothers and their guest appearances on his shows
Andy Williams on how involved he was in selecting guests for The Andy Williams Show
Andy Williams on his Christmas specials and songs and bringing his family onto the program
Andy Williams on why The Andy Williams Show went off the air in 1971 and on continuing to do Christmas specials even though he and his wife were separated by that time

Donny & Marie

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Andy Williams on appearing on Donny & Marie and Donny & Marie's appearances on The Andy Williams Show

Ed Sullivan Show, The aka Toast of the Town

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Andy Williams on his first solo TV appearance -- on The Ed Sullivan Show

Jack Benny Program, The

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Andy Williams on appearing on The Jack Benny Program and working with Jack Benny

Joey Bishop Show, The (1961-65)

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Andy Williams on appearing on The Joey Bishop Show and working with Joey Bishop

Larry Sanders Show, The

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Andy Williams on guesting on The Larry Sanders Show and working with Garry Shandling

Muppet Show, The

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Andy Williams on guesting on The Muppet Show

Tonight

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Andy Williams on Bill Harbach getting him onto Tonight
Topics

Advice

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Andy Williams on advice to an aspiring television performer

Censorship / Standards & Practices

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Andy Williams on not having interference from Standards & Practices on The Andy Williams Show

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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Andy Williams on his mentor, Kay Thompson

Fame and Celebrity

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Andy Williams on fan mail that he receives and how people interact with him on the street

Historic Events and Social Change

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Andy Williams on his brothers being drafted into World War II and singing in other groups until his brothers returned

Pivotal Career Moments

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Andy Williams on his mentor, Kay Thompson

Pop Culture

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Andy Williams on "Moon River" - his show's theme song, and having Henry Mancini on the show
Andy Williams on fan mail that he receives and how people interact with him on the street or when they meet him

TV Theme Songs

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Andy Williams on "Moon River" - his show's theme song, and having Henry Mancini on the show

Television Industry

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Andy Williams on not having interference from Standards & Practices on The Andy Williams Show
Andy Williams on advice to an aspiring television performer

War

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Andy Williams on his brothers being drafted into World War II and singing in other groups until his brothers returned

World War II

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Andy Williams on his brothers being drafted into World War II and singing in other groups until his brothers returned
Professions

Hosts

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Andy Williams on his role as the host of The Andy Williams Show
Genres

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

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Andy Williams on the genesis of The Andy Williams Show
Andy Williams on new talent he debuted on The Andy Williams Show, regular guests, rehearsal process, scripts, and how he welcomed guests onto the show
Andy Williams on his Christmas specials and songs
Andy Williams on guests, "Cookie Bear," the crew of The Andy Williams Show and changes to the show during its last two years, and his show's theme song, "Moon River"
Andy Williams on why The Andy Williams Show went off the air in 1971 and on continuing to do Christmas specials even though he and his wife were separated by that time
People

Steve Allen

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Andy Williams on working with Steve Allen

Woody Allen

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Andy Williams on Woody Allen's appearances on The Andy Williams Show

Julie Andrews

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Andy Williams on Julie Andrews appearing on The Andy Williams Show

Jack Benny

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Andy Williams on appearing on The Jack Benny Program and working with Jack Benny

Joey Bishop

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Andy Williams on appearing on The Joey Bishop Show and working with Joey Bishop

Allan Blye

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Andy Williams on changes to the program in the final two years of The Andy Williams Show, produced by Allan Blye and Chris Beard

Sonny Bono

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Andy Williams on Sonny and Cher appearing on The Andy Williams Show

Osmond Brothers, The

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Andy Williams on the discovery of the Osmond Brothers and their guest appearances on The Andy Williams Show
Andy Williams on mentoring the Osmond Brothers

Cher

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Andy Williams on Sonny and Cher appearing on The Andy Williams Show

Bing Crosby

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Andy Williams on knowing Bing Crosby since childhood

Bobby Darin

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Andy Williams on Bobby Darin appearing on The Andy Williams Show and enjoying working with other singers

Jimmy Durante

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Andy Williams on Jimmy Durante appearing on his shows

Bob Finkel

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Andy Williams on the producers and directors on The Andy Williams Show

Art Garfunkel

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Andy Williams on Simon & Garfunkel appearing on The Andy Williams Show

Judy Garland

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Andy Williams on Judy Garland appearing on The Andy Williams Show

Peter Gennaro

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Andy Williams on the genesis and early cast and crew of The Andy Williams Show - Peter Gennaro

Bill Harbach

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Andy Williams on Bill Harbach getting him onto Tonight

Bob Henry

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Andy Williams on the producers and directors on The Andy Williams Show

Bob Hope

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Andy Williams on Bob Hope appearing on The Andy Williams Show and on knowing him since childhood

Elton John

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Andy Williams on new talent he debuted on The Andy Williams Show -- Elton John

Henry Mancini

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Andy Williams on "Moon River" - his show's theme song

Donny Osmond

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Andy Williams on appearing on Donny & Marie and Donny & Marie's appearances on The Andy Williams Show

Marie Osmond

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Andy Williams on appearing on Donny & Marie and Donny & Marie's appearances on The Andy Williams Show

Garry Shandling

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Andy Williams on guesting on The Larry Sanders Show and working with Garry Shandling

Dinah Shore

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Andy Williams on appearing on The Dinah Shore Show

Paul Simon

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Andy Williams on Simon & Garfunkel appearing on The Andy Williams Show

Frank Sinatra

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Andy Williams on guests he was not able to get on The Andy Williams Show -- Frank Sinatra

Kay Thompson

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Andy Williams on starting a group/act with his brothers and Kay Thompson
Andy Williams on his mentor, Kay Thompson

Flip Wilson

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Andy Williams on the origins of "Cookie Bear" on The Andy Williams Show

Jonathan Winters

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Andy Williams on Jonathan Winters' appearances on The Andy Williams Show

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