Famed pianist Roger Williams dies at 87

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“In those days the disc jockeys would not play a record over three minutes long. So Kapp asked if I could play the thirds a little faster. I did and it came in at two minutes and 59 seconds,” Williams said, according to Wilcox.

It was an instant hit and catapulted Williams to national renown. He followed it up with a string of hits including “Born Free,” “The Impossible Dream,” “Theme From Somewhere In Time,” and “Lara’s Theme from Dr. Zhivago.”

Williams became a popular guest on the top television shows of the time including “The Ed Sullivan Show,” “The Perry Como Show,” and “The Steve Allen Show.”

In a 1995 interview with The Associated Press, Williams said he liked playing _ and listening to _ all types of music.

“The only thing I have against rock `n roll is the volume,” he said.

He is the first pianist to be honored with on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, where his star was decorated with flowers Saturday. He also received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Steinway & Sons.

On his 75th birthday, Williams played a 12-hour marathon at Steinway Hall in New York City, a stunt he repeated several time in the following years.

In March, Williams announced on his website that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. A few days later he played his last concert, in Palm Desert, Calif.

Williams is survived by his daughters, Laura Fisher and Alice Jung, and five grandchildren.

Funeral services are pending.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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