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CNN LIVE TODAY

Interview With Andy Williams

Aired December 16, 2003 - 10:51   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Andy Williams has been entertaining audiences for decades. And one of his biggest shows has become a holiday tradition. In fact, some say Christmas would not be Christmas without Andy Williams.
Well our Christmas is official and he's here to talk to us now. (AUDIO GAP)

Andy Williams, what an honor and a pleasure to have you here.

ANDY WILLIAMS, ENTERTAINER: Thank you very much. The Atlanta Opera Company brought us down here. Hopefully we're going to raise some money for the opera. We did a show last night in this wonderful civic auditorium. I mean it's just wonderful.

WILLIAMS: I know people here in Atlanta appreciate that. You're traveling around the country. Now let's be clear. You haven't gone away, you have your own theater in Branson, Missouri. You have been performing there quite a bit.

WILLIAMS: I perform there in the spring, this next spring is with Ann-Margaret is going to be with us.

KAGAN: Really!

WILLIAMS: And then in the fall. And I do a Christmas show there in November and December.

KAGAN: Who got the big idea to take the show on the road?

WILLIAMS: I got this call from the opera down here, saying we could really use some help. And that was -- that started it. I decided to do that.

And then my agent, being a good agent, doing what he's supposed to do, said, Well let's do at least three or four more along with it. So we're only doing five cities.

KAGAN: I did find a list of cities. AndyWilliams.com has a full list of cities...

(CROSSTALK)

KAGAN: We put it together. People can see where you're going.

WILLIAMS: Oh really? Well Thursday we're going to be in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. And then Saturday we're in Merrillville, Indiana. And then we go home. So it's a very short tour.

KAGAN: Home now is Branson, Missouri.

WILLIAMS: Well it's Branson, Missouri but in this case I'm going to Palm Springs for Christmas. I have a home there. And we'll be there January, February, March and then come back.

KAGAN: So it'll be sandy Christmas for you instead of a white Christmas. Do you get tired of the Christmas music or do you still enjoy it all these years?

WILLIAMS: I really do like it. I mean it's some of the most glorious music that there is. And the opera choir is so good. Last night I was thrilled by singing with them. It was so nice. Really was.

And then I get children out of the audience, and I wasn't sure how many might be there, but filled up the stage.

KAGAN: As I understand it, the people who are coming to see your shows -- it is split generations. You have the folks, the older generation who watched you back in the days we like to say here in the south, but you're drawing young people as well.

WILLIAMS: Well, I don't know why that is.

KAGAN: You're good.

WILLIAMS: At Christmastime, there are a lot of people, maybe your age that watch the show when they were growing up. And there's some little kids who watch the show, too.

And then their parents, I think, play Christmas music of mine, every Christmas so -- and maybe parents are bringing their children. I don't

KAGAN: I want to continue the tradition.

WILLIAMS: Right.

KAGAN: Now I was doing a little bit of reading about the show. Is this right, you rap during the show?

(LAUGHTER)

WILLIAMS: Well I mean seeing an old guy do a rap is kind of funny. Put the hat backwards.

Yes, I did that one time because there were a lot of children in the audience. I thought -- so I went into a rap thing of a song I had known before. Not a rap song but just a regular pop Christmas song. And did it in a rap fashion and it was funny. And it really -- everybody seemed to like it.

KAGAN: Any chance we can put you on the spot here, to see Andy Williams rap on CNN? WILLIAMS: It's a holiday season and holiday time. And Santa Claus is coming around. The Christmas snow is white on the ground. But when old Santa gets into town, he'll be coming down chimney down.

The band is a rap kind of band so it sounds funny. And you know I look ridiculous.

KAGAN: No, I'm sure you look like a class act like you are. We'll be looking for you on the road. Any chance besides the old specials see a new Andy Williams special on the air?

WILLIAMS: There's a special coming up, I don't know when, the first part of next year called "Duets." It's going on PBS.

KAGAN: You'll be performing with other stars?

WILLIAMS: Yes. So that'll be fun.

KAGAN: We'll look forward to that. Come back.

WILLIAMS: All right, I will, thank you very much.

KAGAN: Andy Williams. Merry Christmas.

WILLIAMS: Merry Christmas to you.

KAGAN: Pleasure to be able to tell you that in person.

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