Roger Williams - Roger Williams 'Born Free' Pianist Dies Aged 87
Roger Williams, the American pianist known for his sentimental songs such as 'Autumn Leaves' and 'Born Free', has died aged 87. The musician, who continued to perform well into his eighties, passed away on Saturday (15th October 2011) at his home in Los Angeles, reports the New York Times.
Williams enjoyed a long and distinguished career, scoring numerous commercially successful hits. He recorded 116 albums in total and had seven singles make it into the Billboards Top 40. He performed live across the United States, with notable concerts at the historic Carnegie Hall and the Hollywood Bowl. Williams, who also spent several years performing a residency at the Mgm Grand, was invited to the White House by no less than nine presidents, including Harry S. Truman and George W. Bush. His most famous track, 'Autumn Leaves', was No. 1 on the Billboard singles chart for four weeks in 1955 - it remained in the Top 40 for over five months. Despite some critics taking umbrage with his 'easy listening' style, Williams' soothing music was embraced by millions around the world and he was honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960.
Williams, who celebrated his 87th birthday last week, is survived by his two daughters Laura and Alice, and five children.