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Joe Adams (April 11, 1924 – July 3, 2018) was an American actor, disc jockey, businessman and manager. He was manager to Ray Charles and won a Golden Globe[1][2] — the first African-American to do so.[3][4]

Early years[edit | edit source]

Adams was a native of Los Angeles. His father was a Jewish businessman, and his mother was African-American.[3]

Career[edit | edit source]

During World War II, Adams was a pilot with the Tuskegee Airmen.[5]

After being told that, because of his race, he should not try for a career in radio, Adams took an indirect route to reach that goal. He went from being a truck driver to being chauffeur and general assistant for Los Angeles radio personality Al Jarvis. After six months, Adams had become Jarvis' assistant producer.[6]

Adams was the first African-American announcer on NBC's radio network,[7] handling West Coast jazz remote broadcasts and prducing segments of NBC's Monitor program.[8] In 1948, he became a disc jockey and announcer on KOWL radio in Santa Monica, California,[6] and 10 years later he was described in a newspaper article as "the station's top personality and most valuable property".[8]

Adams became the Emcee and stage director for the fourth Cavalcade of Jazz concert held at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles which was produced by Leon Hefflin, Sr. on September 12, 1948 and continued for the annual event for 10 more years. The event showcased over 125 artists over time. Dizzy Gillespie, Frankie Lane, Little Miss Cornshucks, The Sweethearts of Rhythm, The Honey Drippers, Joe Turner, Jimmy Witherspoon, The Blenders and The Sensations were all featured as Adams emceed his first Cavalcade of Jazz concert.[9]

On June 19, 1951, Adams began his own television program on KTTV in Los Angeles. The show featured Adams' 15-piece orchestra, vocalist Mauri Lynn, and the Hi Hatters dance team.[10]

On stage, Adams had the role of Joe Nashua in the Broadway musical Jamaica (1957).[11]

In 1962, Adams began his longtime association with Ray Charles as an emcee, before eventually becoming his personal manager, a position he held until Charles' death in 2004.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit | edit source]

Adams married Emma Millhouse in 1946.[5] They remained married until his death 72 years later.[12]

Recognition[edit | edit source]

The Los Angeles City Council designated March 15, 1953, a day to honor Adams.[8] In 1955, he received FEM magazine's Man of the Year Award.[13]

Papers[edit | edit source]

Adams' photographs, scrapbooks, and other materials are housed in the Joe Adams Papers collection in the Archives Center, National Museum of American History of the Smithsonian Institution.[5]

Select credits[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Joe Adams: Visionary Videos: NVLP: African American History". http://www.visionaryproject.org/adamsjoe/. Retrieved 2018-12-22. 
  2. "Joe Adams, Radio and Television Personality, Broadway Actor, Philanthropist and Longtime Manager to the Late Ray Charles to Visit Columbia's Campus", PR Newswire; New York, New York, 21 April 2006: n/a.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Joe Adams, Longtime Manager of Ray Charles Dies at 94". Los Angeles Sentinel. California, Los Angeles. July 6, 2018. pp. A1, A8. Archived from the original on 30 December 2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20181230030704/https://lasentinel.net/joe-adams-longtime-manager-of-ray-charles-dies-at-94.html. Retrieved 30 December 2018. 
  4. "Peck, Audrey Hepburn Get Top Awards: Awards", Los Angeles Times, 25 February 1955: 2.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Guide to the Joe Adams Papers". Archived from the original on 30 December 2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20181230024933/https://sova.si.edu/record/NMAH.AC.0908. Retrieved 30 December 2018. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Roberts, Clark (August 1, 1951). "Joe Adams Makes Long Trek From Truck Driver to Band Leader, Fame and Riches". The Los Angeles Times. California, Los Angeles. p. 24. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/26646634/joe_adams/. Retrieved 30 December 2018. 
  7. Witbeck, Charles (November 21, 1974). "Keynotes: The 'Cotton Club' is bound for television". The Morning Call. Allentown, Pennsylvania. p. 86. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/26612364/joe_adams/. Retrieved 29 December 2018. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 "'Mr Versatility' Fits Dr. Joe Adams To A 'T'". The New York Age. New York, New York City. January 7, 1956. p. 9. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/26645051/joe_adams/. Retrieved 30 December 2018. 
  9. Reed, Tom. (1992). The Black music history of Los Angeles, its roots : 50 years in Black music : a classical pictorial history of Los Angeles Black music of the 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's and 60's : photographic essays that define the people, the artistry and their contributions to the wonderful world of entertainment (1st, limited ed.). Los Angeles: Black Accent on L.A. Press. ISBN 096329086X. OCLC 28801394. 
  10. Ames, Walter (June 19, 1951). "Meet Corliss Archer Debuts on Television Tonight; Joe Adams to Host Stan Kenton". The Los Angeles Times. California, Los Angeles. p. Part I – 22. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/21588027/the_los_angeles_times/. Retrieved 29 December 2018. 
  11. Joe Adams at the Internet Broadway Database
  12. "Large Turnout for Funeral of Joe Adams, Longtime Manager of Ray Charles". Los Angeles Sentinel. July 26, 2018. Archived from the original on 30 December 2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20181230030204/https://lasentinel.net/large-turnout-for-funeral-of-joe-adams-longtime-manager-of-ray-charles.html. Retrieved 30 December 2018. 
  13. "20 Leaders of Negro Community Honored". The Los Angeles Times. California, Los Angeles. March 7, 1955. p. 15. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/26646375/the_los_angeles_times/. Retrieved 30 December 2018. 

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