Edie Adams

Actress


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In her four-and-a-half-hour Archive interview, Edie Adams (1927-2008) chronicles her long and varied career as a singer and actress. She talks about her appearances as a featured singer with the late Ernie Kovacs, on Ernie in Kovacsland which led to her collaboration with him on his groundbreaking NBC shows (produced out of Philadelphia's NBC affiliate WPTZ): 3 to Get Ready and Kovacs in the Corner as well as (New York shows) Kovacs Unlimited and the various incarnations of The Ernie Kovacs Show. She talks about her Broadway roles in such shows as "Wonderful Town" and "L'il Abner" (for which she won a Tony Award) as well as her appearance as the fairy godmother in Rodgers and Hammerstein's first musical for television, Cinderella. She also discusses her work in such feature films as Billy Wilder's "The Apartment" and Stanley Kramer's "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World." She recalls her many other television appearances such as those on Jack Paar's morning show as well as commercials for Muriel cigars. She speaks about Ernie Kovacs' tragic death and her continued work in television and films, including her Emmy-nominated television show Here's Edie. She also describes her work in preserving Kovacs' legend -- archiving kinescopes and tapes of his programs for future generations. Henry Colman conducted the interview on March 11, 1999 in Los Angeles, CA.

"We want to strive for something better. If mediocrity is the answer, we'd better all just go home."

Interviewee(s)
Highlights
Edie Adams on being a regular on Ernie Kovacs' shows
Edie Adams on the origin of the famous "Nairobi Trio" sketches on Ernie Kovacs' shows
Edie Adams on being a regular on Jack Paar's morning show
Edie Adams on Ernie Kovacs' fatal car accident on January 12, 1962
Edie Adams on the legacy of Ernie Kovacs
Edie Adams on advice to aspiring performers
Full Interview

Chapter 1

Introduction
On her early years, education and influences; on her early performances (and becoming Miss U.S. TV); on appearing on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts

Chapter 2

On Joe Behar calling and inviting her to appear on television in Philadelphia; on her appearances as a featured singer with Ernie Kovacs, on Ernie in Kovacsland which led to her collaboration with him on his groundbreaking NBC shows (produced out of Philadelphia's NBC affiliate WPTZ) and the various incarnations of The Ernie Kovacs Show

Chapter 3

On working with Ernie Kovacs in Philadelphia and New York; on being a regular performer on The Jack Paar Show

Chapter 4

On joining Ernie Kovacs' late night show on DuMont; on the origin of the famous "Nairobi Trio" sketches on Ernie Kovacs' shows; on transitioning to The Ernie Kovacs Show;  on the introduction of the lenticular color process

Chapter 5

On appearing on Ernie Kovacs' daytime series; on her starring role on Broadway in L'il Abner; on her appearance as the fairy godmother in Rodgers and Hammerstein's first musical for television, Cinderella

Chapter 6

On her work on Broadway; on working on The Dinah Shore Chevy Show; on working with Ernie Kovacs; on advertising Dutch Masters and Muriel Cigars; on working on the feature film The Apartment

Chapter 7

On meeting and working with Shirley MacLaine; on her clothing and saving costumes from The Dinah Shore Show and from movies on which she worked
On appearing with Wally Cox on "The American Cowboy" on The U.S. Steel Hour; on appearing on the last episode of The Lucy Show
On how much she enjoyed working with Sid Caesar; on her TV show, Here's Edie
On her life after Ernie Kovacs' death in 1962; on Kovacs' fatal car accident
On working with Sid Caesar on Here's Edie and with the many comedians of "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World"

Chapter 8

On the music-based Here's Edie growing into the comedy-based The Edie Adams Show; on film and television specials on Ernie Kovacs and the TV movie Evil Roy Slade
On her nightclub appearances and recordings; on the PBS show, The Best of Kovacs; on the legacy of Ernie Kovacs and David Letterman's style of comedy being similar to Ernie Kovacs'
On appearing on the pilot of Bosom Buddies and her issues with episodic television
On starting her own fashion line in 1981; on playing Mae West in the TV movie Ernie Kovacs, Between the Laughter
On her then-current projects - writing a one-woman show and sorting through the tapes of Kovacs' shows; on the highlight of her career

Chapter 9

On the early years of television and how the medium has changed over the years; on advancements for women in television
On advice to aspiring performers; on television's influence on music
On being a founding member of the Costume Designer's Guild; on television at its best and the future of TV
On how she thinks Ernie Kovacs' career would have progressed if he had lived; on how she'd like to be remembered
On her thoughts on people with whom she's worked over the years

Chapter 10

On her thoughts on people with whom she's worked, including Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, and Milton Berle; on her son
On B-roll photos from her life and career
Shows

3 to Get Ready

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Edie Adams on performing on Ernie Kovacs' early shows

Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts

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Edie Adams on her first television appearances; on appearing on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts

Bosom Buddies

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Edie Adams on appearing on the pilot of Bosom Buddies and her issues with episodic television

Dinah Shore Show, The

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Edie Adams on her clothing and saving costumes from The Dinah Shore Show and "Wonderful Town"

Ernie Kovacs Show, The

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Edie Adams on performing on Ernie Kovacs' early shows
Edie Adams on The Ernie Kovacs Show being filmed in lenticular color
Edie Adams on the origin of the famous "Nairobi Trio" sketches on Ernie Kovacs' shows

Ernie Kovacs Specials

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Edie Adams on the origin of the famous "Nairobi Trio" sketches on Ernie Kovacs' shows

Ernie in Kovacsland

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Edie Adams on performing on Ernie Kovacs' early shows

Frasier

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Edie Adams on being a fan of Seinfeld and Frasier

Here's Edie

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Edie Adams on her show, Here's Edie
Edie Adams on working with Sid Caesar on Here's Edie
Edie Adams on the music-based Here's Edie growing into the comedy-based The Edie Adams Show

Jack Paar Show, The (1953-56)

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Edie Adams on being a regular on Jack Paar's morning show

Kovacs on the Corner

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Edie Adams on performing on Ernie Kovacs' early shows
Edie Adams on being a regular on Ernie Kovacs' shows

Lucy Show, The

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Edie Adams on appearing on the last episode of The Lucy Show

Seinfeld

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Edie Adams on being a fan of Seinfeld and Frasier

United States Steel Hour, The

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Edie Adams on appearing with Wally Cox on "The American Cowboy" on The U.S. Steel Hour
Topics

Characters & Catchphrases

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Edie Adams on the origin of the famous "Nairobi Trio" sketches on Ernie Kovacs' shows

Diversity in Television

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Edie Adams on being an uncredited female writer/producer on her show Here's Edie
Edie Adams on advancements for women in television

Fame and Celebrity

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Edie Adams on Ernie Kovacs' fatal car accident on January 12, 1962

Memorable Moments on Television

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Edie Adams on how Ernie Kovacs would tune a television
Edie Adams on memorable moments from Ernie Kovacs' acts and shows - playing the giant piano

Pop Culture

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Edie Adams on Ernie Kovacs' fatal car accident on January 12, 1962

Technological Innovation

View Topic
Edie Adams on The Ernie Kovacs Show being filmed in lenticular color

We Laughed

View Topic
Edie Adams on how Ernie Kovacs would tune a television
Edie Adams on memorable moments from Ernie Kovacs' acts and shows - playing the giant piano

Women

View Topic
Edie Adams on being an uncredited female writer/producer on her show Here's Edie
Edie Adams on advancements for women in television
Professions

Actress

View Profession
Edie Adams on advice to aspiring performers

Performers

View Profession
Edie Adams on advice to aspiring performers
Genres

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

View Genre
Edie Adams on her show, Here's Edie

News and Documentary

View Genre
Edie Adams on the PBS show, The Best of Kovacs

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

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Edie Adams on acting with Cloris Leachman in the TV movie Ernie Kovacs, Between the Laughter
People

Ray Aghayan

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Edie Adams on being a founding member of the Costume Designer's Guild

Steve Allen

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Edie Adams on her thoughts on people with whom she's worked over the years - Steve Allen

Julie Andrews

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Edie Adams on a photo of her with Julie Andrews from "Cinderella"

Desi Arnaz

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Edie Adams on working with Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz on the last episode of The Lucy Show

John Astin

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Edie Adams on the TV movie Evil Roy Slade

Lucille Ball

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Edie Adams on working with Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz on the last episode of The Lucy Show
Edie Adams on working with Lucille Ball later in life

David Begelman

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Edie Adams on male executives ignoring her

Joe Behar

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Edie Adams on her thoughts on people with whom she's worked over the years - Joe Behar

Jerry Belson

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Edie Adams on the TV movie Evil Roy Slade

Jack Benny

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Edie Adams on a photo of her with Jack Benny

Milton Berle

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Edie Adams on her thoughts on people with whom she's worked - Milton Berle

Steve Binder

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Edie Adams on the music-based Here's Edie growing into the comedy-based The Edie Adams Show

Carol Burnett

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Edie Adams on her thoughts on people with whom she's worked - Carol Burnett

George Burns

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Edie Adams on a photo of her with George Burns

Sid Caesar

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Edie Adams on how much she enjoyed working with Sid Caesar
Edie Adams on working with Sid Caesar on Here's Edie
Edie Adams on working with Sid Caesar on "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World"  

Imogene Coca

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Edie Adams on her thoughts on people with whom she's worked - Imogene Coca

Wally Cox

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Edie Adams on appearing with Wally Cox on "The American Cowboy" on The U.S. Steel Hour

Michael Fuchs

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Edie Adams on Comedy Central's alterations to the PBS show, The Best of Kovacs

Arthur Godfrey

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Edie Adams on her first television appearances; on appearing on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts
Edie Adams on her thoughts on people with whom she's worked over the years - Arthur Godfrey

Jeff Goldblum

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Edie Adams on playing Mae West in the TV movie Ernie Kovacs, Between the Laughter

Merv Griffin

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Edie Adams on her thoughts on people with whom she's worked over the years - Merv Griffin

Edith Head

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Edie Adams on being a founding member of the Costume Designer's Guild

Bob Hope

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Edie Adams on her thoughts on people with whom she's worked - Bob Hope

Ernie Kovacs

View Person Page
Edie Adams on performing on Ernie Kovacs' early shows
Edie Adams on being a regular on Ernie Kovacs' shows
Edie Adams on the origin of the famous "Nairobi Trio" sketches on Ernie Kovacs' shows
Edie Adams on Ernie Kovacs' fatal car accident on January 12, 1962
Edie Adams on film and television specials on Ernie Kovacs
Edie Adams on the PBS show, The Best of Kovacs
Edie Adams on the legacy of Ernie Kovacs
Edie Adams on memorable moments from Ernie Kovacs' acts and shows - playing the giant piano
Edie Adams on playing Mae West in the TV movie Ernie Kovacs, Between the Laughter
Edie Adams on the highlight of her career - Ernie Kovacs
Edie Adams on how she thinks Ernie Kovacs' career would have progressed if he had lived
Edie Adams on early photos of her and Ernie Kovacs
Edie Adams on early photos of her and Ernie Kovacs as "Percy Dovetonsils"
Edie Adams on a photo of Ernie Kovacs on the cover of "Life" magazine

Cloris Leachman

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Edie Adams on acting with Cloris Leachman in the TV movie Ernie Kovacs, Between the Laughter
Edie Adams on her thoughts on people with whom she's worked over the years - Cloris Leachman

Jack Lemmon

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Edie Adams on her thoughts on people with whom she's worked over the years - Jack Lemmon

David Letterman

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Edie Adams on David Letterman's style of comedy being similar to Ernie Kovacs'

Shirley MacLaine

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Edie Adams on meeting and working with Shirley MacLaine

Bob Mackie

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Edie Adams on being a founding member of the Costume Designer's Guild
Edie Adams on her thoughts on people with whom she's worked - Bob Mackie

Garry Marshall

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Edie Adams on the TV movie Evil Roy Slade

Dean Martin

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Edie Adams on her thoughts on people with whom she's worked over the years - Dean Martin

Dick Martin

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Edie Adams on her thoughts on people with whom she's worked - Dick Martin

Ralph Nelson

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Edie Adams on her thoughts on people with whom she's worked - Ralph Nelson

Jack Paar

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Edie Adams on being a regular on Jack Paar's morning show

William S. Paley

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Edie Adams on her thoughts on people with whom she's worked over the years - William S. Paley

Mickey Rooney

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Edie Adams on her thoughts on people with whom she's worked - Mickey Sullivan

Dan Rowan

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Edie Adams on her thoughts on people with whom she's worked - Dan Rowan

Rosalind Russell

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Edie Adams on her thoughts on people with whom she's worked over the years - Rosalind Russell
Edie Adams on a photo of her with Rosalind Russell in "Wonderful Town"

Dinah Shore

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Edie Adams on her thoughts on people with whom she's worked over the years - Dinah Shore

Phil Silvers

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Edie Adams on working with Phil Silvers on "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World" 

Frank Sinatra

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Edie Adams on her thoughts on people with whom she's worked - Frank Sinatra

Frank Stanton

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Edie Adams on her thoughts on people with whom she's worked over the years - Frank Stanton

Ed Sullivan

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Edie Adams on her thoughts on people with whom she's worked - Ed Sullivan

Sylvester L. "Pat" Weaver

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Edie Adams on her thoughts on people with whom she's worked - Pat Weaver

Billy Wilder

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Edie Adams on her thoughts on people with whom she's worked over the years - Billy Wilder

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