FORMER President Ronald Reagan once declared that Andy Williams' voice should be made "a national treasure," but that somehow doesn't seem the kind of job the smooth crooner is apt to apply for.
Williams, remembered best for delighting audiences more than two decades ago with his long-running television musical variety show, is a good-natured and generous man, who seems cut from humbler cloth.
He will open the first leg of his "Seventh Annual Christmas Tour" at 6 and again at 9 tonight at the Civic Center Music Hall. Williams will perform Christmas favorites plus his own hits backed by his orchestra and the Oklahoma City University Chamber Choir.
In interviews, Williams doesn't bring up his 17 gold albums or mention the fact that he's a three-time winner of Billboard Magazine's best vocalist award or "The Andy Williams Show's" three Emmys.
Williams isn't one to dwell on the past. He's more than happy to discuss his three children two sons and a daughter, plus two grandkids all of whom "turned out great."
He'll also tell you he's proud to have discovered little Donny Osmond and his talented siblings, the Osmond Brothers.
But what will surprise you is that Williams is candid about what he calls his "days of eating dog food," and he doesn't hesitate mentioning that "Alpo isn't half bad, if you heat it up."
Williams said that, despite a happy childhood performing with his older brothers as the star member of the Williams Brothers (a popular 1940s vocal act), he was left to his own devices in Hollywood after the foursome disbanded in 1953.
"My brothers didn't want to do it anymore," Williams said. "It was frightening and very, very hard before I got my big break on the Steve Allen Show. I guess you could say I was the Donny of the group."
Williams began singing with his three big brothers in the church choir when he was only 8.
"Our father got us into radio in Des Moines, and we had a normal routine because our shows were in the morning," Williams said. "We basically led a normal life when we weren't on the road. I guess it was as normal as any theatrical act can be.
"We traveled a lot and did other shows in Ohio," he said. "I was about 13 when I discovered girls and beer. We moved to California when I was a junior in high school."