The Williams Brothers’ Last Surviving Singer Is 100 – The Hollywood Reporter
Don Williams, who collaborated with Andy Williams and their brothers, Dick and Bob, in a singing quartet that performed on radio, in film and with Bing Crosby and Kay Thompson, has died. He was 100.
Williams died Friday of natural causes at his home in Branson, Missouri, his wife, Jeanne, said Hollywood Reporter.
Born on October 9, 1922, Don is the second oldest of a quartet between Wall Lake, Iowa. He and his brothers would work in the morning on their own live radio show in Des Moines, Iowa, then go to school.
Doris Day has known them since they were children. “I used to go to their house and we sang together,” she recalls after Andy Williams’ death in September 2012. “They asked me to join their group, but my vocal coach thought that I should go out alone. ”
The boys also performed on stations in Chicago and Cincinnati before they went to Los Angeles and assisted Crosby on his 1944 hit “Swinging on a Star.” They later teamed up with Thompson to form a popular nightclub performance group.
Thompson, head of vocals at MGM, brought the brothers into the studio choir, and they worked on films including anchor Aweigh (1945), Crazy Ziegfeld (1945), Harvey Girls (1946) and Good news (1947).
They also appear in musicals Janie (1944), Kansas City Kitty (1944), Something in the wind (1947) and Ladies’ People (1947).
Without his brothers, Don appeared in a 1956 episode of Theater 90 and made headlines at the Tropicana Hotel shortly after it opened in Las Vegas in 1957. He also sang in commercials, on Tonight’s Program and on shows hosted by Eddie Fisher and Nat King Cole.
He later became an agent and manager, with his clients including Mary Tyler Moore and singers Ray Stevens and Roger Miller.
During World War II, he served in the United States Marine Corps Merchant Force with Dick, and both were radio operators on the same tanker.
Don Williams County Park, an amusement park in Boone County, Iowa, is named after him.
Andy Williams, best known for his easy-to-listen hits “Moon River,” “Days of Wine and Roses” and “Where Do I Begin?” and for his television variety show, was born in 1927 as the youngest of boys. He died at the age of 84.
Bob Williams, born in 1918 as the oldest, died in September 2003 at the age of 85. And Dick, born in 1926, died in May 2018 at the age of 91.
The four regularly reunite on Andy Williams Christmas specials.
In addition to his wife – they’ve been together for 41 years – Don’s survivors have his twin sons, David and Andy, and grandson, Harrison. His sons were also recorded as the Williams Brothers, with their songs including “What’s Your Name” and “Can’t Cry Hard Enough.”