Tuesday October 23, 2012

BRANSON, Mo. -- Entertainer Andy Williams was remembered Sunday for a smooth voice that could soothe the soul, an inviting smile and a warmth that became synonymous with Christmas as celebrities and fans alike gathered for a memorial tribute at his Moon River Theatre in the southwest Missouri town he adopted as his home.

Williams, who died last month at the age of 84 after a battle with cancer, was serenaded in absentia by a series of musical artists who got their start with him decades ago or had performed with him over the years.

Others sent tributes by video, including comedian Bill Cosby and Ethel Kennedy, who recalled swooning as she once danced with Williams -- a family friend who sang at the memorial for her husband, Robert Kennedy, after his assassination in 1968.

Williams himself also ap peared on the video screen as clips recalling his musical albums, TV variety show and Christmas specials were played.

More than 1,000 people attended the tribute hosted by entertainer Peter Marshall.

Williams had three platinum and 18 gold records, and five Grammy award nominations during a career that began at age 8 and continued nearly until his death as he performed at his Branson theater named for his signature song, "Moon River."