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Iowa History Daily: August 28 - Andy Williams at the Grandstand

Iowa History Daily: On August 28, 1965, Iowan Andy Williams took the Grandstand Stage at the Iowa State Fair. Over a 70 year career, Williams entertained audiences with hits like “Moon River” and as host of “The Andy Williams Show.”

Born in Wall Lake, Iowa, during December of 1927, Williams spent his earliest years in Sac County. After moving first to Ohio and later to California, Williams served in the US Merchant Marine during World War II before embarking on a decades-long career in the entertainment industry. Although he and his brothers first got their start singing on WHO-AM Des Moines in 1938, his big break came singing with Bing Crosby in 1944. A six-time Grammy nominee, Williams recorded 43 albums in his career and created memorable hits. Williams amassed three platinum records, as well as 15 gold records during his career.

Starting in 1962, Williams built on early success acting in film adaptations of musicals to star as the host of “The Andy Williams Show.” The variety show featured a variety of acts over a nearly ten-year run, and audiences loved short comedy sketches. Eventually the network moved the show to a three time a year special format. Later in his career Williams Christmas Specials drew good ratings from viewers across the country. As his television success added to his musical stardom, Williams arrived back in his home state to take the Iowa State Fair stage.

Although Williams spent much of his life outside of Iowa, he continued to care for his hometown through donations to projects including the 2005 community center, which he helped open with a performance. Today, the Wall Lake Historical Society operates the Andy Williams Birthplace home and museum. #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryCalendar


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