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“Pianist To The Presidents”, Frequent Performer In Simi Valley Dies

Posted on Sunday, October 9, 2011 12:01am

One of America’s best known pianists, who performed at the White House for nine different administrations over the decades has died.

Roger Williams was known as the “Pianist To The Presidents”.  He died Saturday (10/8) at his Los Angeles home, following a battle with pancreatic cancer. 

Williams hit the Billboard Top 20 charts with his music in the 1950′s.  To this day, his hit song “Autumn Leaves” is the only piano instrumental to top the Billboard charts.  Other hits included “Born Free” and “The Impossible Dream”.

Williams became friends with Ronald Reagan early in his career, and performed for the Reagans at the White House.  He also performed multiple times over the years at the Reagan Library, in Simi Valley.  In a written statement, Nancy Reagan called Williams “a great pianist, a great American, and a great friend.”

Williams was 87 years old.

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