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Adam Wade

Star of Basketball, Bio-Chemistry, Billboard, and Broadway Musicals

Adam Wade is a multi-talented award winning singer and actor.  Beginning as singer in the early 1960s he was a top night club entertainer and he had nine chart topping singles on the CoEd and Epic labels.  With a singing style that has been compared to Johnny Mathis his hit songs were "As If I Didn't Know" (#4), "The Writing on the Wall" (#5), “Take Good Care of Her" (#7), “Ruby” (#54), “I Can't Help It” (#64) and “Tell Her for Me” (#66).  Turning to acting in the late 1960s he began a long career of appearances in movies, television shows, commercials, Broadway plays, Las Vegas shows, and national touring companies of plays and musicals. On television Adam was first African American to ever host a game show: Musical Chairs on CBS. His comedic talent was showcased with his appearances on Sanford and Son, What's Happening, The Jeffersons, and Good Times.  In commercials Adam’s performances were recognized by the industry when he was nominated twice for Clio awards and for his Virgin Island "Fifty Dollar Days" commercial   In the theater Adam has been nominated for Ovation Awards and twice won the Audelco Award for Best Actor in a Romantic Comedy.  Adam continues to perform in shows throughout the country.  Beginning in 2008 he began a three year national tour with the musical “The Color Purple”.

Born in Pittsburgh as Patrick Henry Wade in 1935 he grew up in East Liberty.  He attended  Westinghouse High School where he was an honor student, sang in the choir, played trumpet in the band, and starred in sports.  A basketball star he was invited to join the Harlem Globetrotters and also won a basketball scholarship to Virginia State University. Graduating from Westinghouse in 1952, he attended Virginia State University and became captain of the basketball team.  His goal was to earn a doctorate in biochemistry.  He graduated from Virginia and returned to Pittsburgh to attend graduate school at the University of Pittsburgh.  In 1958 Adam became a lab assistant working with Dr. Jonas Salk’s on polio vaccine research.  Paid $65 a week he was a glassware washer and then a blood cell counter working in the monkey room where kidney tissue was extracted as a vaccine source.  In the evenings he performed at the Pittsburgh Playhouse.  He sang the lead in the production of "Lost In the Stars".

In 1959 song writer Richard Baugh, who was a choir mate of Adam’s at Westinghouse High, ask Adam is he would accompany him on a trip to New York City.  Adam wanted to sell his song and had made appointments with several record companies in the Brill building.  He asked Adam to come with him and sing the songs for the record companies.  In October of 1959 Braugh and Wade drove to New York City.   Their first stop in the Brill Building was the CoEd record label. Adam sang Baugh’s song for Max Cane.  Cane did not like the songs, but he wanted Adam.  He signed him to a record contract that day.  Adam returned to New York in November and recorded the song "Tell Her for Me”.  It was an overnight hit and Adam was in demand.  His first nightclub  first nightclub appearance ever at the Living Room in New York drew the attendance of Frank Sinatra and Eddie Fisher. They both praised his performance. He moved to New York in 1960 and within six months, he was singing at the most prestigious club in the country, the Copacabana.

In 1960 CoEd Records released Adam Wade’s first album “And Then Came Adam”.  Two singles hit the Billboard charts "Ruby" (#58) and "I Can't Help It." (#64).   Adam won the 1960 Cash Box Poll as the year's most promising male vocalist of the year.  He record success lead to appearances at top night clubs throughout the country including the famed Copacabana.  In Pittsburgh his engagement at the  was extended for two weeks. His best year as a recording artist was in 1961 when three singles form his CoEd “Adam and Evening” album reached the top ten of the charts: "Take Good Care of Her," "Writing on the Wall" and "As If I Didn't Know".  On his return to Pittsburgh in 1962 to appear for 12 days at the Holiday House, Mayor Barr proclaimed May 26 Adam Wade Day.  Adam was escorted by a motorcade from the airport to Pittsburgh City Hall.  A welcome home reception was held at the Holiday House.  Adam appearance five times at the Holiday House from 1961 to 1962 with several engagements extended.

In 1962 he signed to Epic Record to be the next Johnny Mathis. He released three albums on Epic.  “One Is a Lonely Number” released in 1962 featured the single "Crying in the Chapel" that peaked at number 88 on the Billboard Top 100.   Epic release the albums “Very Good Year for Girls” and “What Kind of Fool am I” in 1963.  But with the coming of the Beatles and the British invasion, the days of chart topping singles from balladeers were waning.

Seeking new opportunities Wade turned to voice over work and acting in the late 1960s.  Since then Adams has appeared the national touring companies for the musicals "Hallelujah, Baby!" and “The Color Purple”.  He performed in , "Guys and Dolls" in Las Vegas and he understudied Ben Vereen in "I'm Not Rappaport"on Broadway in 2002. 

In the movies Wade has appeared in blaxploitation, Shaft, Come Back, Charleston Blue, Across 110th Street, The Education of Sonny Carson, Texas Lightning, Kiss Me Goodbye, and Brother to Brother. He has also appeared in The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, Gordon's War, The Anderson Tapes, and Claudine.

On TV he worked on Sanford & Son, The Jeffersons, What's Happening, Good Times, Hill Street Blues, Queens Supreme, Dukes of Hazard, Police Woman, B.J. and the Bear, Adam 12, and of course the require show for every actor: Law & Order.   He also appeared on the day time soaps" The Guiding Light" and "Search for Tomorrow. In 1975 he hosted the “Musical Charis” game show on CBS, becoming the first African American game show host.

Wade earned a BA from Lehman College and a Master's degree from Brooklyn College. He worked as adjunct professor of speech and theater at LIU and Bloomfield College.

As If I Didn't Know

Take Good Care of Her