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Moon River and Me: A Memoir

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"In Moon River and Me, his long-awaited autobiography, Andy Williams tells the extraordinary story of a career that has flourished for nearly three-quarters of a century and made its mark in every branch of show business. Raised by a father who was single-mindedly determined to see his four sons become famous performers, Andy spent much of his youth moving across the country, landing wherever he and his brothers might have a bigger opportunity, and eventually winding up in Hollywood. It was there that they caught the eye of the gifted entertainer ...

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Moon River and Me: A Memoir

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Overview

"In Moon River and Me, his long-awaited autobiography, Andy Williams tells the extraordinary story of a career that has flourished for nearly three-quarters of a century and made its mark in every branch of show business. Raised by a father who was single-mindedly determined to see his four sons become famous performers, Andy spent much of his youth moving across the country, landing wherever he and his brothers might have a bigger opportunity, and eventually winding up in Hollywood. It was there that they caught the eye of the gifted entertainer Kay Thompson, who created an acclaimed nightclub act with the Williams Brothers that toured the country for four years. When Andy set off for a solo career in 1952, however, the fame he had enjoyed with Thompson began to slip away, and he soon found himself struggling to even support himself." But a lucky break led to a job on Steve Allen's Tonight Show, and within only a few short years his plushly beautiful tenor became one of the most recognizable voices in popular music. Andy shares not only the triumphs and setbacks of his career but his memories of the many notable people he came to know (including Judy Garland, Henry Mancini, Jack Lemmon, John Lennon, Frank Sinatra, Elvis, and Elton John), writing particularly movingly about his close friendship with Bobby Kennedy, For everyone who grew up with the voice of Andy Williams as the sound track to their romances, their holidays, and their family gatherings, Moon River and Me will be a welcome - and often surprising - self-portrait of a warm, funny, generous, and always captivating man.\

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Singer Andy Williams has 18 gold records, 3 platinum records, and his own Branson theater, but by the evidence of this book, the man who Ronald Reagan called "a national treasure" also has several bucketfuls of stories too good not to share. A mellow, enjoyable read for the season; now in paperback.

Library Journal
Pop icon Williams's memoir is an entertaining look at a show-business life that began in Iowa and progressed steadily to a worldwide career. After the Williams Brothers Quartet (Andy Williams and his three brothers) broke up in the early 1950s, Williams went out on his own, at first with little success. Eventually, he was given his own television variety show in 1962 and became one of the best-known pop crooners in the post-World War II era. His book is a treasure trove of anecdotes from the celebrity world. He was acquainted with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Elvis Presley, Bing Crosby, Chico Marx, Michael Jackson, Elton John, and Fred MacMurray; Williams was a fast friend of Robert and Ethel Kennedy. The singer's fans will be absorbed by his accounts of his early years in the Midwest and Hollywood, his marriage to Claudine Longet and his role in her trial for manslaughter, and his therapeutic use of LSD. VERDICT An entertaining read for those who love celebrity biographies or autobiographies, especially those who remember the pop scene in the 1950s and 1960s.—Bruce R. Schueneman, Texas A&M Univ. Lib., Kingsville
Kirkus Reviews
Octogenarian crooner submits his Horatio Alger tale. In the 1960s, easy-listening icon Andy Williams's velvety voice and handsome mug became associated with a culturally conservative side of America that never embraced rock 'n' roll. But as we learn in this surprisingly candid memoir, Williams endured a pre-success hard-knock life that rivaled the squalid upbringings of many country singers or rock stars. Raised during the Great Depression in tiny Wall Lake, Iowa, a pre-adolescent Williams and his brothers were pushed hard by their hyperambitious manager father, singing at local church socials and anywhere else they could find work. Soon the family was living a peripatetic working-class existence, moving to Des Moines, then Chicago, then Los Angeles, doing radio shows and picking up the odd decent-paying gig. In L.A., however, his father's dogged persistence paid off when he got the brothers bit parts in a few Hollywood films. However, making it as a solo act in the post-World War II entertainment landscape nearly undid the workaholic singer. At his lowest point he was playing dingy nightclubs to little acclaim and sleeping in vermin-ridden flophouses-he once even resorted to eating dog food. Even as he began to have success on television, hosting the Andy Williams Show, while becoming a million-selling recording artist, life was still tough. Two marriages ended in divorce, and one ex-wife, singer Claudine Longet, was later involved in a controversial shooting. The author's peak years in the late '60s are the least compelling, as Williams rambles on about the fruits of success: art collecting, investing in Arabian horses, celebrity golf tournaments and run-ins with the Rat Pack,Elvis, John Lennon and seemingly every major or minor showbiz luminary of the day. Equal parts oddly compelling and eye-crossingly dull.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670021178
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/13/2009
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.44 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.14 (d)

Meet the Author

Andy Williams was of the world's best-loved vocalists and entertainers since he began his professional career nearly seventy years ago. Known as the King of Hearts, the Emperor of Easy, and Mr. Moon River, he divided his time between La Quinta, California, and Branson, Missouri.  Williams died in 2012 at the age of 84, and over his career recorded 42 studio albums.  

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 24 )
Rating Distribution

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(11)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

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(4)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 24 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 17, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Wonderful Book by a Classy Guy

    I just finished this book and found it to be thorougly enjoyable. I have been a fan of Andy Williams for years. When I was a young girl and my parents took me to see him in person in Lake Tahoe. I still remember it to this day.

    I watched his tv show and remember the Osmonds, who were my age but I didn't care, I had a MAJOR crush on Andy. His Christmas Shows were my favorites (except for the Williams Brothers all being dressed in the same color!!!).

    I picked up this book because I am a fan but in all honesty I knew little about him. This book is about his career from an early age singing with his brothers in Iowa up to the present, owning and performing in his Moon River Theatre in Branson, Missouri and everything in between. Great book and well worth the price.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 28, 2009

    Enjoyed Every Word

    This is a must read for anyone who has admired Andy Williams and his music over the years. As a long-time fan, I enjoyed reading about Andy's life in his own words. I remember reading that Andy wanted to write his own story before someone else did so he could tell it like it really was.
    Moon River and Me will give you new insight into Andy's long career -- from his early struggles to make it in the music world to how he started a new life when he opened the Moon River Theatre in Branson, Missouri. The book gave me even more admiration and respect for a true gentleman. I highly recommend it.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2009

    Andy Williams

    With honesty, humility and humor this talented singer tells of his childhood in Iowa and career in radio, television and recording. Particularly moving is his account of his friendship with Senator Robert F. Kennedy.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Thoughtful introspection from an American and Hollywood success story

    I found this book to be poignant, humorous and historically interesting. Andy Williams' life and career covered from the Great Depression through the Great Society! It was fascinating to discover infuences on his life-that of early midwestern upbringing, depression era family dynamics, World War II upheaval and finally the golden age of Hollywood. The book is not all fluff. He touched on the fact that the people who love us the most can still be exploitative. However, it is apparent that he did not develop bitterness, but more of a reflective nature- which is a clear insight into his personality. Perhaps this inner peace is why his singing has a genuine warmth.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 22, 2010

    Not cool

    I was surprised to be interested in reading this book, but the beginnings of his story drew me in somewhat, so I kept reading. However, as Andy gained success, his storytelling reflected the ego that no doubt helped him get where he did and he obviously lacked the humility of his early years. The vignettes he includes describing others invariably seem to place those others in a more unflattering light than good ol' Andy. Particularly over the top was his telling of June Haver's drunken reveal of her initimate romping with her husband. If she or her husband had written it, that would be one thing, but it is not Andy Williams' place to do so. Was it necessary for him to specify that in his long-term relationship between his two marriages in which they had such a wild time, she was the identified alcoholic? Would these people and the others that he wrote about approve of his sharing these types of details? Obviously he cannot illustrate his positives without contrasting with others' negatives. Not cool.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2010

    Moonriver and Me is a fantastic journey into the Hollywood of Old

    What an enjoyable read from the first page to the last. Humorously written with lots of heart and stories of iconic politicians and Hollywood stars of old...Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Bobby Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and more. This book is for anybody that wants to take a trip back in time with one of the classy guys in show business.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 15, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    My Heart still Pitter Patters for Andy

    This is a very interesting read because Andy Williams managed to keep his private life out of the media...even at the height of his career. The only time that anything was said about him was during the trial of his first wife.
    His persistance to make something of himself in the music world has given us a crooner of the quality of Frank Sinatra, Perry Como and Tony Bennet. He has reached many a woman's heart and soul through that beautiful baritone voice.
    I am so glad that Andy Williams opened his private world and let us in for a glimpse of an American icon.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2013

    Andy's songs are always in the background

    Have always enjoyed Andy William's music. very interesting to read about his life and his journey in the music world. While reading, i can imagine his voice relating the words and the tunes of his songs. Don't usually read bios, but enjoyed this one and will recommend it to others.

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  • Posted January 17, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Enjoyable Autobiography of a Pop Icon

    As I was reading this pleasant retelling of Andy Williams's life, I was reminded of the huge inventory of hits the smooth-voiced singer had in his day. Though the book is a bit bland and "vanilla", it effectively tracks his career from his childhood as part of the Williams Brothers quartet through his difficult times as a solo artist singing in half-empty dives to the enormous success (and wealth) he found as a television and recording star. I'd like to think Mr. Williams left out some juicy details, but then I suspect there really aren't any, and he is exactly as he seems - a sweet-natured midwestern boy with a pleasing voice and manner who made it into the big time - with just a few sacrifices along the way.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2010

    A Very Good Book & Easy to Read

    I never heard any of Andy Williams' songs until recently. I bought his book even though I seldom buy anyone's autobiography. His ghost writer did a great job. The book was very easy to read and a real page turner. I thought Mr. Williams' book was brutally honest and reflective. He recounted his life story without trashing anyone. I would highly recommend this book to fans and non-fans of Andy Williams.

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  • Posted February 6, 2010

    Great gift especially for fans of AW age

    I bought this for my parents after hearing Andy Williams interviewed on NPR. Andy Williams supported Robert Kennedy for president and was there in California when RFK was assassinated. My parents also were supporters, so that passage was especially touching to them. They felt the book was surprisingly good and not as shallow as many celebrity autobiographies, plus it really reflected the time the Andy Williams was at his most popular, and showed him to be a fairly well grounded person.

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  • Posted October 13, 2009

    Don't Bother!

    This so called autobiography is without factual merit, many misstatements and much self agrandizement. Don't waste your money!

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted December 24, 2009

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    Posted October 14, 2009

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    Posted January 23, 2010

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    Posted May 5, 2010

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    Posted April 5, 2010

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    Posted December 23, 2009

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