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Roger Williams

Roger Williams

(1924 – 2011)

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United States

Roger Williams

Roger Williams
(1924 – 2011)

In memory of

Roger Williams

(1924 – 2011)
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About Roger
This is an online obituary dedicated to Roger Williams. Roger Williams was born Louis Weertz on October 1st, 1924. He was an American popular music pianist. As of 2004, he had released 116 albums.
He was born to a Lutheran minister (Rev. Frederick J. Weertz) and a music teacher (Dorothea Bang Weertz), in Omaha, Nebraska, but before his first birthday the family moved to Des Moines, Iowa. He first played the piano at age three. In high school he became interested in boxing, mainly at his father's insistence, and only returned to music after breaking his nose several times and sustaining several other injuries.
He majored in piano at Drake University in Des Moines, but claimed he was expelled for playing
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About Roger
"Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" in the practice room. Roger Williams entered the United States Navy and served in World War II. While still in the Navy, he earned a bachelor's degree from Idaho State College (now Idaho State University) in 1950. Afterwards, Roger Williams re-enrolled at Drake, where he earned his master's degree. He then moved to New York City to study at the Juilliard School of Music. At Juilliard he studied jazz piano under Lennie Tristano and Teddy Wilson.
One night, Roger Williams was scheduled to play as an accompanist for a Juilliard student who was to sing on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts. When the singer failed to appear, Roger Williams went on as a piano soloist and won the night's contest.
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About Roger
He was heard by David Kapp, founder of Kapp Records. Kapp was so impressed that he signed the pianist. In addition to the Godfrey program, Roger Williams also won a talent contest on Dennis James' program, Chance of a Lifetime.
In 1955 Roger Williams recorded "Autumn Leaves", the only piano instrumental to reach #1 on Billboard's popular music chart. While many other recordings have been made of this song, Roger Williams' version is easily the best known and most played. It sold over two million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. In 1966 he had another Top Ten hit with the song "Born Free" from the motion picture soundtrack.
His other hits include "Near You", "Till", "The Impossible Dream", "Yellow
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About Roger
Bird", "Maria", and "The Theme From Somewhere In Time". Billboard Magazine ranks him as the top selling piano recording artist in history with 18 gold and platinum albums to his credit.
Roger Williams is also known as the "Pianist to the Presidents" having played for nine administrations beginning with Harry S. Trumans. His last White House performance was in November 2008 for a luncheon hosted by former First Lady Laura Bush.
Still a popular draw with audiences long into his life, Roger Williams performed concerts around the country and headlined Las Vegas each year.
On his 75th birthday, Roger Williams performed his first 12 hour piano marathon. He has performed the marathon at Steinway Hall in
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About Roger
New York City and the Nixon, Carter and Reagan Presidential Libraries. With no planned program, Roger Williams plays hundreds of requests from the thousands who file in to hear him.
His Steinway & Sons "Gold Steinway" grand piano has been on tour for public display and entertainment during 2007–2008.
In 2010 Roger Williams was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame.
Roger Williams posted on his website that he had pancreatic cancer, and that his doctors told him they could not remove the tumor until chemotherapy shrinks it to an operable size. Roger Williams said that he did not plan on canceling any upcoming concerts.
Roger said, "What does it all mean? It means I'm in just one more
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About Roger
fight -- the fight for my life." "And this much I know, this old Navy boxing champion is going for broke. Just watch me!"
Unfortunately, Roger Williams passed away on the 8th October 2011. This is an online tribute dedicated to Roger Williams and his music. May he rest in peace.
Remembrance Messages
On 10th Oct 2011
Fran Morris
wrote:
Very fond memories of Mr. Williams from my years at Mulholland Jr. High School with his daughter. He will be missed.
Remembrance Messages
On 10th Oct 2011
Jan-Michael Wildeman
wrote:
Roger Williams' passing recalls for me his deep Faith and gentle calming voice. Yes, his Autumn Leaves rendition will be a "standard" in most pianists' repertoire but above all, a Heart that God perhaps could see and allowed his magic fingers to fly across the keys well into his late years, was a Gift to all.
Lovingly remembered across the world
Jan-Michael (Toronto, Canada)
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Roger Williams - tribute extract

Roger Williams

This is an online obituary dedicated to Roger Williams. Roger Williams was born Louis Weertz on October 1st, 1924. He was an American popular music pianist. As of 2004, he had released 116 albums.
He was born to a Lutheran minister (Rev. Frederick J. Weertz) and a music teacher (Dorothea Bang Weertz), in Omaha, Nebraska, but before his first birthday the family moved to Des Moines, Iowa. He first played the piano at age three. In high school he became interested in boxing, mainly at his father's insistence, and only returned to music after breaking his nose several times and sustaining several other injuries.
He majored in piano at Drake University in Des Moines, but claimed he was expelled for playing...

Roger Williams is remembered by...
Fran Morris
Jan-Michael Wildeman
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Rest in peace Roger
I first met Roger at ****
My sincere condolences to all friends and family of Roger
My fondest memory of Roger was ****
Roger used to really enjoy ****
What I will miss the most about Roger is ****
Roger inspired me to ****
Roger changed my life by ****
If I had to sum up what Roger meant to me it would be ****
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