"Moon river, wider than a mile," Andy Williams crooned. "I'm crossing you in style some day."
And last night, the singer, Emmy-winning TV legend, and six-time Grammy host went off to meet his "huckleberry friend," passing away at his home in Branson, Missouri, after a yearlong battle with bladder cancer.
He was 84.
Born Howard Andrew Williams in Wall Lake, Iowa, on Decemer 3, 1927, this corn-fed country kid grew up to become the cleanest cut crooner in America, the ubiquitous host of The Andy Williams Show, and the King of Branson.
Most popular through the '60s and '70s, Williams wasn't a hippie. He didn't even dabble in the counterculture. Instead, he was the tireless voice of Middle America through the middle of the 20th Century, eventually setting up shop in Missouri's "Live Entertainment Capital Of The World," building the Moon River Theater, and singing his greatest hits every night for All-American fans.
"The old cliche says that if you can remember the 1960s, you weren't there," Andy joked. "Well, I was there all right, but my memory of them is blurred -- not by any drugs I took but by the relentless pace of the schedule I set myself."
Last November, when Williams announced his cancer diagnosis, he also defiantly vowed to return to the Branson stage in celebration of his 75th year in show biz.
Sadly, Andy didn't reach his diamond anniversary. But "Moon River" will always shimmer in his wholesome memory.