Adam Wade, a flexible, velvet-voiced crooner who scored three consecutive Billboard Top 10 hits in a single yr, appeared in scores of movies, performs and TV productions, and in 1975 turned the primary Black host of a community tv recreation present, died on Thursday at his residence in Montclair, N.J. He was 87.
His spouse, Jeree Wade, a singer, actress and producer, stated the trigger was issues of Parkinson’s illness.
In May 1975, CBS introduced that it could break a community tv racial barrier by naming Mr. Wade the grasp of ceremonies of a day by day afternoon recreation present, “Musical Chairs.”
Staged at the Ed Sullivan Theater in Manhattan and co-produced by the music impresario Don Kirshner, this system featured guest musical performances, with 4 contestants competing to finish the lyrics of songs and reply to questions on music. (Among the visitor performers have been the group the Spinners and the singer Irene Cara.)
The novelty of a Black M.C. was not universally embraced: A CBS affiliate in Alabama refused to hold the present, and hate mail poured in — together with, Mr. Wade advised Connecticut Public Radio in 2014, a letter from a person “saying he didn’t want his wife sitting at home watching the Black guy hand out the money and the smarts.”
The present was canceled after lower than 5 months. Still, Mr. Wade stated, “It probably added 30 years to my career.”
That profession started when a songwriter buddy invited him to New York to audition for a music writer. At the time, Mr. Wade was working as a laboratory technician for Dr. Jonas E. Salk, the developer of the polio vaccine.
He first recorded for Coed Records in 1958, and two years later moved to Manhattan, the place he carried out with the singer Freddy Cole, the brother of his idol Nat King Cole. Rapidly ascending the present enterprise ladder, he quickly opened for Tony Bennett and for the comic Joe E. Lewis at the trendy Copacabana nightclub.
“Two years ago, he was Patrick Henry Wade, a $65-a-week aide on virus research experiments in the laboratory of Dr. Jonas E. Salk at the University of Pittsburgh,” The New York Times wrote in 1961. “Today he is Adam Wade, one of the country’s rising young singers in nightclubs and on records.”
That identical yr, he recorded three songs that soared to the higher echelons of the Billboard Hot 100 chart: “Take Good Care of Her” (which reached No. 7), “The Writing on the Wall” (No. 5) and “As if I Didn’t Know” (No. 10).
Patrick Henry Wade was born on March 17, 1935, in Pittsburgh to Pauline Simpson and Henry Oliver Wade Jr. He was raised by his grandparents Henry and Helen Wade. His grandfather was a janitor at the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research (now a part of Carnegie Mellon University).
Mr. Wade attended Virginia State University on a basketball scholarship, initially dreaming of taking part in for the Harlem Globetrotters sooner or later. But he dropped out after three years and went to work at Dr. Salk’s laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh. Undecided about whether or not to just accept the recording contract that Coed supplied, Mr. Wade consulted Dr. Salk.
“He told me he had this opportunity,” Dr. Salk advised The Times at the time. “I told him he must search his own soul to find out what is in him that wants to come out.”
Mr. Wade modified his first title — his agent stated there have been too many Pats in present enterprise — and had his first hit with the tune “Ruby” early in 1960. His clean vocal type was typically in comparison with that of Johnny Mathis, however Mr. Wade stated he was primarily influenced by an earlier boyhood idol, Nat King Cole.
“So I guess that tells you how good my imitating skills were,” he stated.
As an actor he appeared on TV cleaning soap operas, together with “The Guiding Light” and “Search for Tomorrow,” and in sitcoms like “The Jeffersons” and “Sanford & Son.” He was additionally seen in “Shaft” (1971), “Come Back Charleston Blue” (1972) and different movies, and onstage in a 2008 touring firm of “The Color Purple.”
He and his spouse ran Songbird, an organization that produced African American historic revues, together with the musical “Shades of Harlem,” which was staged Off Broadway at the Village Gate in 1983.
The couple final carried out at an anniversary occasion this yr.
In addition to Ms. Wade, whom he married in 1989, he’s survived by their son, Jamel, a documentary filmmaker; three youngsters, Sheldon Wade, Patrice (*87*) Wade and Michael Wade, from his marriage to Kay Wade, which resulted in 1973; and a number of other grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
For all his success in present enterprise, Mr. Wade stated he was notably proud that 40 years after dropping out of school, he earned a bachelor’s diploma from Lehman College within the Bronx and a grasp’s in theater historical past and criticism from Brooklyn College, each constituents of the City University of New York. He taught speech and theater at Long Island University and at Bloomfield College in New Jersey.
“I was the first one in my family to go to college,” he advised Connecticut Public Radio. “I promised my grandmother back then that I would finish college someday. Many years later, I kept that promise.”