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Posted at 02:56 PM ET, 09/26/2012

RIP, Andy Williams: Remembering his Christmas specials (video)

Andy Williams — the crooner whose satin-smooth voice was synonymous with the “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” ballad “Moon River” — died Tuesday of bladder cancer at the age of 84.

While that “dream maker ... heart breaker” of a song may have been Williams’s signature tune, as the Post’s Maura Judkis rightly notes, it’s hardly the only thing for which the popular singer was known. In fact when some hear the name Andy Williams, the first thing they immediately think is: Christmas.

Not only did Williams release multiple Christmas albums over the years, all of which included his famous take on “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” he also hosted recurring Christmas specials even after his original variety series, “The Andy Williams Show,” ended its run in the early 1970s. Over the years, big stars — from the Osmonds to Dorothy Hamill to, yes, Punky Brewster and Joey Lawrence — joined Williams to celebrate the season.

It only seemed appropriate to remember the life of Mr. Christmas with a few clips from some of his holiday classics.

Here’s Williams, leading a “Sleigh Ride”circa 1965.

The Osmonds were practically a required part of Williams’s holiday shows. In this clip, they join the host to perform “Silver Bells” while toasting marshmallows and wearing, perhaps, the most unfortunate winter hats in broadcast television history.

Here are the Osmond brothers again, pulling off the triple lindy of holiday-special feats: singing “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” on ice skates, while holding sparklers. This was when America really had talent, people.

Williams often was joined on his program by his family, including first wife Claudine Longet and their children. Two of their three kids appear in this clip, which is sweet but also a little nerve-wracking given how close the flames from the Christmas fire seem to be getting to those wee babes.

In 1982, Williams spread the good cheer with help from Aileen Quinn (star of the movie version of “Annie”) and Dorothy Hamill, who, it should be noted, ice-skates in this clip without sparklers.

I regret to inform everyone that the Internet has completely let us down by providing zero clips from “The Daily Show Andy Williams Christmas Special” from 1997. So we’ll just have to go with this clip from the second-best Williams holiday special of the modern-ish era, the one from 1985, which features a few of “The Cosby Show” kids, Punky Brewster and the dance stylings of a young Joey Lawrence wearing bedroom slippers. Watch closely to see how disinterested Lisa Bonet appears to be in this entire endeavor.

And we close with the man singing the holiday number for which we know him best.

By  |  02:56 PM ET, 09/26/2012

Categories:  Obits | Tags:  Retro Nostalgia

 
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