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Roger Williams
Birth: Oct. 1, 1924
Omaha
Douglas County
Nebraska, USA
Death: Oct. 8, 2011
Encino
Los Angeles County
California, USA

Pianist. A celebrated musician, considered by many as the greatest pianist of popular music of the 20th Century, he achieved a string of Top-40 hits on the Pop Charts and garnered more-than 20 gold and platinum albums, while performing in front of nine presidents during his career. Born Louis Weertz in Omaha, Nebraska, his father was a Lutheran minister, his mother was a music teacher, he began to master the piano at age three. He gained experience playing in front of audiences in his father's church and by the age of 18, he was performing on his own radio show in Des Moines, Iowa. During this period, he would meet and form a lifelong friendship with Ronald Reagan, who at that time was working as a broadcaster. Upon his discharge from service with the US Navy during World War II, he strengthened his musical skills, initially at Drake University (where he received his Masters degree), followed by Idaho State College and the renowned Juilliard School of Music. Remaining in New York City to establish himself, he caught the attention of David Kapp (co-proprietor of Kapp Records) who immediately signed him to a contract, also having him change his name to Roger Williams. His interpretation of "Autumn Leaves" (1955), earned him a number one placing on the Pop Charts, along with gold record status. This was followed with "Wanting You" (1956, originally from the 1928 musical The New Moon" and his tranquil recording of "Till" (1957) achieved gold record status. He enjoyed a Top-Ten placing with "Born Free" (1966, from the motion picture of the same name) which peaked at number seven). Throughout his career, Williams electrified audiences in such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood Bowl and the Las Vegas strip. He became the first pianist to receive a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame. Williams died from pancreatic cancer. (bio by: C.S.) 
 
Burial:
Crystal Cathedral Memorial Gardens
Garden Grove
Orange County
California, USA
GPS (lat/lon): 33.78832, -117.89976
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: C.S.
Record added: Oct 08, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 77852306
Roger Williams
Added by: katzizkidz
 
Roger Williams
Added by: Lisa Albanese
 
Roger Williams
Added by: Grover1962
 
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- Blue Lady
 Added: Aug. 30, 2014
Back in the 1950's, when I was working at the local radio station (there was only one), spinning platters, your version of Autumn Leaves (Is there any other), was my theme. At 3pm every afternoon, your piano solo started off a program of popular music, t...(Read more)
- Em
 Added: Jul. 10, 2014
A great musician. I first heard his music in 1977 or 1978.
- Randy Johnson
 Added: Jul. 2, 2014
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Current ranking for this person: (4.3 after 96 votes)
 

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