On October 1, 1924, Louis Weertz was born in Omaha, Nebraska. After developing an interest in the piano at an early age he would attend the famed Juilliard School of Music in New York before being discovered by Dave Kapp, founder of Kapp Records who suggested Louis change his name to Roger Williams.
In 1955 his “Autumn Leaves” sold more than two millions singles, becoming the only piano instrumental to reach #1 on the Hit Parade, where it stayed for 26 consecutive weeks. In 1958 “Near You” gave Roger his second gold single and in 1966 the theme from the motion picture “Born Free” also sold a million records.
Among his more than two dozen hit singles was “Two Different Worlds” with vocalist Jane Morgan, “Almost Paradise,” “Till,” “Arrivederci, Roma,” “Temptation,” “Maria,” “Amor,” and “Lara’s Theme” from the motion picture Dr. Zhivago.
Three dozen Roger Williams albums sold in the millions internationally.
One week after his 87th birthday, Roger Williams died on October 8, 2011 at his Los Angeles home of complications from pancreatic cancer.
He was the first pianist to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Roger Williams was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame in 2010.