Singer Andy Williams reveals he has cancer

Sun Nov 6, 2011 9:05pm EST
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By Suzi Parker

BRANSON, Mo (Reuters) - Veteran singer Andy Williams, a 1960s television variety show star best known for his rendition of the ballad "Moon River," told fans over the weekend that he has been diagnosed with bladder cancer.

The 83-year-old entertainer broke the news to a live concert audience at his Moon River Theater in Branson, Missouri, during a Saturday performance of his "2011 Andy Williams Christmas Show," city officials confirmed on Sunday.

"I do have cancer of the bladder," a local newspaper in his adoptive hometown, the Branson Tri-Lakes News, quoted Williams as saying from the stage. "But that is no longer a death sentence. People with cancer are getting through this thing."

The theater's website made no specific mention of Williams' diagnosis but says, "due to health reasons Andy may not make a live appearance in his Christmas Show."

Williams missed the opening four shows of the season last week, making his first appearance on Saturday night. The Lennon Sisters and other acts are filling in for him at the Moon River Theater in his absence.

The 2,000-seat dinner theater, which Williams built and opened in 1992, is named for his signature song, written by Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini for the movie "Breakfast at Tiffany's."

It became Williams' own theme after he sang it at the Academy Awards ceremony in 1962, the same year he began hosting his own regular weekly TV variety show on NBC.

Known for a smooth vocal style, he also recorded hits with "Days of Wine and Roses," "The Shadow of Your Smile," "Can't Get Used to Losing You," "Solitaire," "Music to Watch Girls By," "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" and the theme from the 1970 movie hit "Love Story."   Continued...