Dick Williams (singer)

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Dick Williams
Birth nameRichard Blaine Williams
Born(1926-06-07)June 7, 1926
Wall Lake, Iowa, U.S.
DiedMay 5, 2018(2018-05-05) (aged 91)
Burbank, California, U.S.
GenresPop music
Associated acts

Richard Blaine Williams (June 7, 1926 – May 5, 2018) was an American singer and actor. He was the older brother of Andy Williams and the two of them appeared together as The Williams Brothers.


Williams was born in Wall Lake, Iowa,[1] the son of Jay Emerson and Florence (née Finley) Williams. While living in Cheviot, Ohio, he attended Western Hills High School in Cincinnati, Ohio. He finished high school at University High School, in West Los Angeles, because of his family's move to California. Williams had three brothers: Bob, Don, and Andy. One of his first performances was in a children's choir at the local Presbyterian church.[1] He and his brothers formed the Williams Brothers quartet[1] in late 1938, and they performed on radio in the Midwest, first at WHO, in Des Moines, Iowa. In July 1940 the family moved to Chicago and received a job at WLS, in Chicago, and WLW, in Cincinnati. Moving to Los Angeles in 1943, the Williams Brothers sang with Bing Crosby on the hit record "Swinging on a Star" (1944). They appeared in four musical films: Janie (1944), Kansas City Kitty (1944), Something in the Wind (1947) and Ladies' Man (1947). The Williams Brothers were signed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to appear in Anchors Aweigh and Ziegfeld Follies (1945) but, before they went before the cameras, the oldest brother, Bob, was drafted into military service and the group's contract was canceled. Kay Thompson, a former radio star who was now head of the vocal department at MGM, had a nose for talent and hired the remaining three Williams brothers to sing in her large choir on many soundtracks for MGM films, including The Harvey Girls (1946). When Bob completed his military service, Kay hired all four brothers to sing on the soundtrack to Good News (1947). By then, Thompson was tired of working behind the scenes at MGM so, with the four Williams boys as her backup singers and dancers, she formed a nightclub act called Kay Thompson and the Williams Brothers. They made their debut in Las Vegas in 1947 and became an overnight sensation. Within a year, they were the highest paid nightclub act in the world, breaking records wherever they appeared. When the Thompson and Williams Brothers act ended in 1953, the brothers broke up and they went their own ways developing their own solo acts. Dick Williams went to sing with the Harry James band and later in August 1951 landed on Broadway. [2]In 1998 Andy, Don, Dick and their sister Jane, visited Wall Lake for the dedication of the Williams family home as a historic site and tourist attraction.[3] [4][5][6]

Williams died in Burbank, California, at the age of 91.[7][8]



  • Love is Nothin' But Blues[9]


  • "Livin' It Up" / "Robber" RCA Victor 1955
  • "Rock Hearted Mama"[10]
  • "A Man is Ten Feet Tall"
  • "Cryin' The Blues" / "Every Little Once In A While" Decca USA 1958
  • "Put on a Happy Face"[11]


  • "La Vie En Rose" vocals on Harry James Album.
  • "Mona Lisa", vocals on Harry James Album.[12][13]
  • "Guys and Dolls" vocals Jan Stewart & Dick Williams, on Harry James Album, 1950 Columbia Records [14]
  • "I'll Know" vocals Jan Dick Williams from Guys And Dolls, on Harry James Album, 1950 Columbia Records


  • The Little Blue Light (1951)[15]
  • Copper and Brass (1957), musical comedy by Ellen Violet[16]


  1. ^ a b c "Andy Williams". TV.com. Retrieved April 30, 2012.
  2. ^ Billboard Aug 18, 1951, page 14
  3. ^ "Kay Thompson Website". Kay Thompson Website. Retrieved August 26, 2015.
  4. ^ Ken Mansfield The White Book: The Beatles, the Bands, the Biz 2007 p 154 "(Andy and Dick began their careers as two of the four brothers in the Williams Brothers Quartet.) Dick walked over and picked up the phone, called George's hotel, and with his best Cary Grant imitation told the operator that he was Cary Grant .."
  5. ^ John Pizzarelli, ed. Joseph Cosgriff World on a String: A Musical Memoir 2012 Page 130 "Rube Bloom and Johnny Mercer's "Day in, Day out" was selected. Andy Williams's brother, Dick, wrote a special lyric about Mercer into the middle of the song, which did not make things easier on the singer."
  6. ^ Lorna Luft Me and My Shadows: A Family Memoir 1999 - Page 185 "Andy Williams's brother, Dick, was the choral director, and Gene Palumbo was the musical director. We'd rehearsed a big production number, and I even had my own backup chorus."
  7. ^ Barnes, Mike (May 8, 2018). "Dick Williams, Singer in the Williams Brothers Quartet, Dies at 91". The Hollywood Reporter. ISSN 0018-3660.
  8. ^ "Dick Williams, One of the Four Williams Brothers Passes Away". Broadway World. May 7, 2018.
  9. ^ The Leatherneck - Volume 43 - Page 71 1960 "Love is Nothin' But Blues — Dick Williams (Capitol). First album for Dick, brother of Andy Williams. A pleasant voice and style makes this good
  10. ^ Billboard - 26 May 1956 - Page 53 "DICK WILLIAMS Rock Hearted Mama 77 VICTOR 6523— The oldie gets a solid performance by Dick Williams, and the side is produced with toe-tapping beat. A strong one for the jocks and boxes. Watch it. (E. B. Marks, BMI)"
  11. ^ Billboard - 28 Aug 1961 - Page 12 ".."Put on a Happy Face," by Dick Williams (Andy Williams' brother)."
  12. ^ discogs.com Harry-James
  13. ^ Hit Songs, 1900-1955: American Popular Music of the Pre-Rock Era, page 312, By Don Tyler
  14. ^ discogs.com, James And His Orchestra, Guys And Dolls Ill Know
  15. ^ Billboard, page 39 The Little Blue Light, May 12, 1951
  16. ^ Broadway Plays and Musicals: Descriptions and Essential Facts, page 93. By Thomas S. Hischak

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