Review: Moon River and Me

Thank you Penguin Group for sending me a copy of Andy Williams new memoir, Moon River and Me.

From the authors website: Williams’ story begins in Wall Lake, Iowa, where he and his siblings were encouraged by their ambitious father to form the singing group The Williams Brothers and bartered public performances for shoes, groceries and even their youngest brother’s funeral (they sang in the funeral parlor every day after school and all day Saturdays to pay off their debt). After moving to Los Angeles, the brothers gained a short-lived national following before Andy set off on a solo career, struggling for years until a regular spot on Steve Allen’s Tonight Show and a string of hit singles established his stardom.

In MOON RIVER AND ME, Williams shares all the highs and lows of this period—including the controversial and highly publicized shooting by his ex-wife Claudine Longet of her lover, skier Spider Sabich, and stories featuring his close friend Bobby Kennedy, Ronald Reagan (who declared him a national treasure), Judy Garland, John Huston, Jack Lemmon, Howard Hughes, John Lennon, Frank Sinatra, Elvis, and countless others. Andy will be 82 when this memoir is published, and he's as energetic and popular as ever. In fact, he still performs throughout the year at his Moon River Theater in Branson, Missouri.

I must confess, I know Andy Williams by name but I didn’t want much television as a child so unfortunately I don’t remember watching him perform on the Tonight Show (or other appearences).

This memoir is well written, it grabs you from the beginning pages when the author shares stories from his youth. Born in 1927, it was interesting to read about life and growing up in the Midwest along with the highs/lows in the entertainment business. Williams’ preformed with his brothers as a child, struggled on his own as a young man but it was a lucky break on Steve Allen’s Tonight Show that made him a household name.

I enjoyed reading the stories of all the celebrities, life as a musician/celebrity and the joy he has as he looks back on his career (and family).

Type: Memoir, 305 pages, Hardcover

A remarkable memoir by one of the most popular and beloved entertainers of the twentieth centuryWhen in the mid-1950s Andy Williams reached a low point in his career, singing in dives to ever-smaller audiences, the young man from Wall Lake, Iowa, had no inkling of the success he would one day achieve. Before being declared a national treasure by President Ronald Reagan, Williams would chart eighteen gold and three platinum albums, headline at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas for more than twenty years, and host an enormously popular weekly television variety show whose Christmas specials still occupy a tender spot in every baby boomer's heart.

Williams knew everybody who was anybody during his seven remarkable decades in show business (including Judy Garland, John Huston, Jack Lemmon, John Lennon, Elton John, Frank Sinatra, Elvis, and Barbra Streisand, among others) and was a close friend of Bobby Kennedy for many years, and he shares memories of them all in Moon River and Me. His millions of fans guarantee a huge audience for the autobiography of the plush baritone who- at the age of eighty-one-still draws thousands of fans to his Moon River Theater in Branson, Missouri.