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Roger Williams's Geni Profile

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Louis Jacob Weertz

Also Known As: "Roger Williams"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Omaha, Douglas, Nebraska, USA
Death: Died in Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, USA
Cause of death: pancreatic cancer
Place of Burial: Crystal Cathedral Memorial Gardens , Garden Grove, Orange, California, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Rev. Frederick J. Weertz and Dorothea Weertz

Occupation: Pianist
Managed by: Eldon Clark (C)
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Roger Williams

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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

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Roger Williams's Timeline

1924
October 1, 1924
Omaha, Douglas, Nebraska, USA
2011
October 8, 2011
Age 87
Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, USA
????
Garden Grove, Orange, California, USA