Singer Andy Williams remembered at Mo. tribute
From left, Jay Osmond, Merrill Osmond, and Jimmy Osmond sing at Andy Williams' memorial service at the Moon River Theater, in Branson, Mo., Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012. Williams, known for singing "Moon River" and his Christmas television specials, passed away Sept. 25. (AP Photo/Grant Hindsley)
BRANSON, Mo. (AP) — Entertainer Andy Williams was remembered Sunday for a smooth voice that could soothe the soul, an inviting smile and a warmth that became synonymous with Christmas as celebrities and fans alike gathered for a memorial tribute at his Moon River Theatre in the southwest Missouri town he adopted as his home.
Williams, who died last month at the age of 84 after a battle with cancer, was serenaded in absentia by a series of musical artists who got their start with him decades ago or had performed with him over the years — the Lennon Sisters, Osmond Brothers and Gatlin Brothers, among them. Entertainer Bob Newhart choked up with emotion as he joked of his friendship with Williams.
Patrons of Andy Williams' memorial service walk to the Moon River Theater, in Branson, Mo., Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012. Williams, known for singing "Moon River" and his Christmas television specials, passed away Sept. 25. (AP Photo/Grant Hindsley)
Others sent tributes by video, including comedian Bill Cosby and Ethel Kennedy, who recalled swooning as she once danced with Williams — a family friend who sang at the memorial for her husband, Robert Kennedy, after his assassination in 1968.
Williams himself also appeared on the video screen as clips recalling his musical albums, TV variety show and Christmas specials were played.
More than 1,000 people attended the tribute hosted by entertainer Peter Marshall that started as an invitation-only event, but was opened to fans as word spread through Branson.