Pioneering singer, actor and game show host was 87 – The Hollywood Reporter

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Adam Wade, the suave singer and actor who scored three Billboard 100 Top 10 hits in 1961 and appeared in films including Tree, crazy joe and Claudine before making history as a game show host, died. 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 scored hits in 1961 with the romantic ballads “Take Good Care of Her,” which reached No. 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 emulate Nat King Cole, my childhood idol, not Johnny Mathis. So I guess that tells you how good my impersonation skills were.

In June 1975, Wade became the first black man to host a network game show with Musical chairs, created by Don Kirshner. Recorded at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York, it featured contestants trying to come up with decent lyrics and song titles with the help of actors such as The Spinners, Sister Sledge and Irene Cara.

Wade said a CBS affiliate in Alabama refused to air Musical chairs because he was the host and the producers got a lot of hate mail before the show aired, despite its popularity, in October.

“I am on [they] hid some of the letters from me, Wade said, so I wouldn’t get upset. I saw one of a guy who used all sorts of swear words, saying he didn’t want his wife to stay home watching the black man distribute money and intelligence.

Adam Wade in 1961
Courtesy of Everett Collection

Born 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 developed the polio vaccine in the 1950s.

Wade signed with Coed Records in late 1959 and quickly made the charts with “Ruby”, a cover of the theme song from the 1952 Jennifer Jones film ruby nobilityand “Tell him for me.”

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

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

Wade made his screen acting debut in a 1966 episode of Tarzan and appeared on The FBI and Adam-12 before appearing on the big screen in Tree (1971), Come back blue Charleston (1972), Across 110th Street (1972), Gordon’s War (1973), crazy joe (1974), ghost of paradise (1974) and Claudine (1974), with Diahann Carroll and James Earl Jones.

Wade’s TV resume was also included search tomorrow, Sanford and sons, The Jeffersons, What is happening!!, Police woman, kojak, Good time, The Dukes of Hazard and The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo.

He returned to recording after Musical chairs and understudied for Ben Vereen on Broadway in I am not Rappaport in 2002. He also did a lot of regional theatre.

Wade met Jeree on the set of Musical chairsand they married in 1989. They often acted together, notably in the play On Kentucky Avenuewhich he wrote and directed.

Among the survivors are also his children, Ramel, Patrice, Jamel and Latoya, as well as several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

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