87-year-old pioneering singer, actor, and game show host – The Hollywood Reporter

Adam Wade, famous male singer and actor registered 3 Billboard 100 Top 10 hits in 1961 and appeared in films including Axis, Crazy Joe and Claudine before making history as a game show host, passed away. He was 87 years old.

Wade died Thursday at his home in Montclair, New Jersey, after a battle with Parkinson’s disease, his wife, singer Jeree Wade, said. The Hollywood Reporter.

The Pittsburgh crooner drew comparisons to Johnny Mathis when he successfully recorded in 1961 with the romantic ballad “Take Good Care of Her”, which peaked at #7 (the tune was later recorded by Elvis Presley) , “The Writing on the Wall” (No. 5) and “As If I Didn’t Know” (No. 10).

In a 2014 interview, Wade said he was “trying to imitate Nat King Cole, my boyhood idol, not Johnny Mathis. So I guess that tells you how good my imitation skills are. “

In June 1975, Wade became the first Black person to host a network game show with Musical chair, created by Don Kirshner. Recorded at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York, it features contestants trying to figure out the correct lyrics and song titles with the help of artists including The Spinners, Sister Sledge, and Irene Cara.

Wade says a CBS affiliate in Alabama refused to broadcast Musical chair because he was the host of the show and that the producers received a lot of hate mail before the show aired, despite its popularity, in October.

“I’m sure [they] hid some letters from me,” Wade said, “so that I wouldn’t get upset. One that I saw belonged to a guy who used all sorts of obscene terms, saying he didn’t want his wife to sit at home watching black guys give money and smart guys.”

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Adam Wade in 1961
Courtesy Everett Collection

Born on March 17, 1935, Patrick Henry Wade graduated from Westinghouse High School in Pittsburgh in 1952. He studied science at Virginia State University and worked as a laboratory technician under Dr. Jonas Salk, who had developed a polio vaccine in the 1950s.

Wade signed to Coed Records in late 1959 and quickly hit the charts with “Ruby”, a cover of the 1952 Jennifer Jones film theme song. Ruby Gentryand “Tell her to me.”

When Wade arrived in New York City, among the first musicians he worked with was Freddy Cole, Nat’s brother, and before he knew it, he opened for Tony Bennett at the Copacabana and appeared show up on game show Tell the truth.

After his first two albums, the 1960s And Then Came Adam and in 1961 Adam and the eveningWade signed with Epic Records to replace Mathis on its roster but never found the success he enjoyed in Coed.

Wade made his screen debut in a 1966 episode of gorilla and appeared on FBI and Adam-12 before showing on the big screen in Axis (1971), Back to Charleston Blue (1972), Across the street 110 (1972), Gordon’s War (1973), Crazy Joe (1974), Phantom of the Paradise (1974) and Claudine (1974), starring Diahann Carroll and James Earl Jones.

Wade’s TV resume also includes Searching for tomorrow, Sanford & Son, Jeffersons, What’s going on !!, Female police officer, Kojak, Good times, Duke of Hazzard and The Mistakes of Sheriff Lobo.

He went back to recording after Musical chair and watch for Ben Vereen on Broadway in I’m not Rappaport in 2002. He has also participated in many regional theatres.

Wade meets Jeree on set Musical chairand they got married in 1989. They often performed together, including in plays On Kentucky Avenuewhich he wrote and directed.

Survivors include his children, Ramel, Patrice, Jamel and Latoya, as well as several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

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