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."

Highlights
Edie Adams on being a regular on Ernie Kovacs' shows
17:29
Edie Adams on the origin of the famous "Nairobi Trio" sketches on Ernie Kovacs' shows
02:43
Edie Adams on being a regular on Jack Paar's morning show
12:07
Edie Adams on Ernie Kovacs' fatal car accident on January 12, 1962
02:25
Edie Adams on the legacy of Ernie Kovacs
01:15
Edie Adams on advice to aspiring performers
01:46
Full Interview

Chapter 1

Introduction
00:23
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
28:54

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
05:30
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
06:34
On how much she enjoyed working with Sid Caesar; on her TV show, Here's Edie
08:33
On her life after Ernie Kovacs' death in 1962; on Kovacs' fatal car accident
04:18
On working with Sid Caesar on Here's Edie and with the many comedians of "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World"
03:56

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
06:06
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'
09:14
On appearing on the pilot of Bosom Buddies and her issues with episodic television
02:28
On starting her own fashion line in 1981; on playing Mae West in the TV movie Ernie Kovacs, Between the Laughter
05:51
On her then-current projects - writing a one-woman show and sorting through the tapes of Kovacs' shows; on the highlight of her career
02:58

Chapter 9

On the early years of television and how the medium has changed over the years; on advancements for women in television
10:19
On advice to aspiring performers; on television's influence on music
03:05
On being a founding member of the Costume Designer's Guild; on television at its best and the future of TV
04:32
On how she thinks Ernie Kovacs' career would have progressed if he had lived; on how she'd like to be remembered
01:59
On her thoughts on people with whom she's worked over the years
09:19

Chapter 10

On her thoughts on people with whom she's worked, including Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, and Milton Berle; on her son
10:20
On B-roll photos from her life and career
04:59
Shows

3 to Get Ready

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Edie Adams on performing on Ernie Kovacs' early shows
29:36

Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts

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Edie Adams on her first television appearances; on appearing on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts
07:37

Bosom Buddies

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Edie Adams on appearing on the pilot of Bosom Buddies and her issues with episodic television
02:28

Dinah Shore Show, The

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Edie Adams on her clothing and saving costumes from The Dinah Shore Show and "Wonderful Town"
03:17

Ernie Kovacs Show, The

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Edie Adams on performing on Ernie Kovacs' early shows
29:36
Edie Adams on The Ernie Kovacs Show being filmed in lenticular color
03:27
Edie Adams on the origin of the famous "Nairobi Trio" sketches on Ernie Kovacs' shows
02:43

Ernie Kovacs Specials

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Edie Adams on the origin of the famous "Nairobi Trio" sketches on Ernie Kovacs' shows
02:43

Ernie in Kovacsland

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Edie Adams on performing on Ernie Kovacs' early shows
29:36

Frasier

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Edie Adams on being a fan of Seinfeld and Frasier
00:38

Here's Edie

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Edie Adams on her show, Here's Edie
08:00
Edie Adams on working with Sid Caesar on Here's Edie
02:55
Edie Adams on the music-based Here's Edie growing into the comedy-based The Edie Adams Show
04:07

Jack Paar Show, The (1953-56)

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Edie Adams on being a regular on Jack Paar's morning show
12:07

Kovacs on the Corner

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Edie Adams on performing on Ernie Kovacs' early shows
29:36
Edie Adams on being a regular on Ernie Kovacs' shows
17:29

Lucy Show, The

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Edie Adams on appearing on the last episode of The Lucy Show
04:31

Seinfeld

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Edie Adams on being a fan of Seinfeld and Frasier
00:38

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
01:21
Topics

Characters & Catchphrases

View Topic
Edie Adams on the origin of the famous "Nairobi Trio" sketches on Ernie Kovacs' shows
02:43

Diversity in Television

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Edie Adams on being an uncredited female writer/producer on her show Here's Edie
03:07
Edie Adams on advancements for women in television
05:55

Fame and Celebrity

View Topic
Edie Adams on Ernie Kovacs' fatal car accident on January 12, 1962
02:25

Memorable Moments on Television

View Topic
Edie Adams on how Ernie Kovacs would tune a television
00:54
Edie Adams on memorable moments from Ernie Kovacs' acts and shows - playing the giant piano
00:44

Pop Culture

View Topic
Edie Adams on Ernie Kovacs' fatal car accident on January 12, 1962
02:25

Technological Innovation

View Topic
Edie Adams on The Ernie Kovacs Show being filmed in lenticular color
03:27

We Laughed

View Topic
Edie Adams on how Ernie Kovacs would tune a television
00:54
Edie Adams on memorable moments from Ernie Kovacs' acts and shows - playing the giant piano
00:44

Women

View Topic
Edie Adams on being an uncredited female writer/producer on her show Here's Edie
03:07
Edie Adams on advancements for women in television
05:55
Professions

Actress

View Profession
Edie Adams on advice to aspiring performers
01:46

Performers

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Edie Adams on advice to aspiring performers
01:46
Genres

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

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Edie Adams on her show, Here's Edie
08:00

News and Documentary

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Edie Adams on the PBS show, The Best of Kovacs
03:19

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
03:13
People

Ray Aghayan

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Edie Adams on being a founding member of the Costume Designer's Guild
01:55

Steve Allen

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Edie Adams on her thoughts on people with whom she's worked over the years - Steve Allen
00:37

Julie Andrews

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Edie Adams on a photo of her with Julie Andrews from "Cinderella"
00:30

Desi Arnaz

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Edie Adams on working with Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz on the last episode of The Lucy Show
02:20

John Astin

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Edie Adams on the TV movie Evil Roy Slade
01:00

Lucille Ball

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Edie Adams on working with Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz on the last episode of The Lucy Show
04:31
Edie Adams on working with Lucille Ball later in life
00:42

David Begelman

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Edie Adams on male executives ignoring her
01:12

Joe Behar

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Edie Adams on her thoughts on people with whom she's worked over the years - Joe Behar
00:11

Jerry Belson

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Edie Adams on the TV movie Evil Roy Slade
01:00

Jack Benny

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Edie Adams on a photo of her with Jack Benny
00:32

Milton Berle

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Edie Adams on her thoughts on people with whom she's worked - Milton Berle
00:20

Steve Binder

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Edie Adams on the music-based Here's Edie growing into the comedy-based The Edie Adams Show
04:06

Carol Burnett

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Edie Adams on her thoughts on people with whom she's worked - Carol Burnett
00:20

George Burns

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Edie Adams on a photo of her with George Burns
00:41

Sid Caesar

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Edie Adams on how much she enjoyed working with Sid Caesar
00:44
Edie Adams on working with Sid Caesar on Here's Edie
01:22
Edie Adams on working with Sid Caesar on "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World"  
01:33

Imogene Coca

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Edie Adams on her thoughts on people with whom she's worked - Imogene Coca
00:21

Wally Cox

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Edie Adams on appearing with Wally Cox on "The American Cowboy" on The U.S. Steel Hour
01:21

Michael Fuchs

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Edie Adams on Comedy Central's alterations to the PBS show, The Best of Kovacs
01:07

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
00:28

Jeff Goldblum

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Edie Adams on playing Mae West in the TV movie Ernie Kovacs, Between the Laughter
01:47

Merv Griffin

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Edie Adams on her thoughts on people with whom she's worked over the years - Merv Griffin
00:24

Edith Head

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Edie Adams on being a founding member of the Costume Designer's Guild
01:16

Bob Hope

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Edie Adams on her thoughts on people with whom she's worked - Bob Hope
04:05

Ernie Kovacs

View Person Page
Edie Adams on performing on Ernie Kovacs' early shows
29:36
Edie Adams on being a regular on Ernie Kovacs' shows
17:29
Edie Adams on the origin of the famous "Nairobi Trio" sketches on Ernie Kovacs' shows
02:43
Edie Adams on Ernie Kovacs' fatal car accident on January 12, 1962
04:18
Edie Adams on film and television specials on Ernie Kovacs
00:59
Edie Adams on the PBS show, The Best of Kovacs
03:19
Edie Adams on the legacy of Ernie Kovacs
01:15
Edie Adams on memorable moments from Ernie Kovacs' acts and shows - playing the giant piano
00:44
Edie Adams on playing Mae West in the TV movie Ernie Kovacs, Between the Laughter
03:13
Edie Adams on the highlight of her career - Ernie Kovacs
00:54
Edie Adams on how she thinks Ernie Kovacs' career would have progressed if he had lived
01:36
Edie Adams on early photos of her and Ernie Kovacs
01:08
Edie Adams on early photos of her and Ernie Kovacs as "Percy Dovetonsils"
00:36
Edie Adams on a photo of Ernie Kovacs on the cover of "Life" magazine
00:17

Cloris Leachman

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Edie Adams on acting with Cloris Leachman in the TV movie Ernie Kovacs, Between the Laughter
01:26
Edie Adams on her thoughts on people with whom she's worked over the years - Cloris Leachman
00:22

Jack Lemmon

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Edie Adams on her thoughts on people with whom she's worked over the years - Jack Lemmon
00:16

David Letterman

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Edie Adams on David Letterman's style of comedy being similar to Ernie Kovacs'
01:47

Shirley MacLaine

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Edie Adams on meeting and working with Shirley MacLaine
01:17

Bob Mackie

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Edie Adams on being a founding member of the Costume Designer's Guild
01:55
Edie Adams on her thoughts on people with whom she's worked - Bob Mackie
00:13

Garry Marshall

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Edie Adams on the TV movie Evil Roy Slade
01:00

Dean Martin

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Edie Adams on her thoughts on people with whom she's worked over the years - Dean Martin
01:07

Dick Martin

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Edie Adams on her thoughts on people with whom she's worked - Dick Martin
00:30

Ralph Nelson

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Edie Adams on her thoughts on people with whom she's worked - Ralph Nelson
00:07

Jack Paar

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Edie Adams on being a regular on Jack Paar's morning show
12:07

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
00:13

Mickey Rooney

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Edie Adams on her thoughts on people with whom she's worked - Mickey Sullivan
01:16

Dan Rowan

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Edie Adams on her thoughts on people with whom she's worked - Dan Rowan
00:59

Rosalind Russell

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Edie Adams on her thoughts on people with whom she's worked over the years - Rosalind Russell
02:10
Edie Adams on a photo of her with Rosalind Russell in "Wonderful Town"
00:21

Dinah Shore

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Edie Adams on her thoughts on people with whom she's worked over the years - Dinah Shore
00:57

Phil Silvers

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Edie Adams on working with Phil Silvers on "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World" 
01:01

Frank Sinatra

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Edie Adams on her thoughts on people with whom she's worked - Frank Sinatra
00:11

Frank Stanton

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Edie Adams on her thoughts on people with whom she's worked over the years - Frank Stanton
00:18

Ed Sullivan

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Edie Adams on her thoughts on people with whom she's worked - Ed Sullivan
00:23

Sylvester L. Weaver

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Edie Adams on her thoughts on people with whom she's worked - Pat Weaver
00:18

Billy Wilder

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Edie Adams on her thoughts on people with whom she's worked over the years - Billy Wilder
01:11

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