Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Charming Miss Edie Adams

Different erotic strokes for different ill folks...Edie Adams, who died a few days ago at age 81, may not have been a big star, but she made an impression in many different ways.
For some, she was the 50's version of Mae West, the sultry sexpot whose commercials for Muriel cigars included the line, "Why don't ya pick one up...and smoke it sometime..." She would play Mae West in a cameo scene for a 1984 film bio of Ernie Kovacs, "Between the Laughter." A later Muriel commercial was built around a parody of "Sweet Charity" and the line, "Hey big spender...spend a little DIME with me..."
Many recall her as a warm, nice-looking comedienne able to play a sexy housewife (the film "Mad Mad Mad Mad World") or a charming fairy godmother (the original TV production of "Cinderella") or the prototype for bustin' out hillbilly temptresses (the stage production of "Lil Abner")
For some, Edie was simply a living link to the cult idol Ernie Kovacs, and for a rather small group, Edie was known as a capable pop singer...although she didn't exactly get into the studio too often.
Born Elizabeth Edith Enke, April 16, 1927, she was a pretty, and pretty straight when she enrolled at the Juilliard School of Music...and while she had some technique, most of her teachers felt the bland blonde didn't have the skills or vocal personality to really be successful as a soprano or as a pop signer. On looks alone, she auditioned and won the minor job of singing on a local TV show. It was hosted by an obscure Hungarian named Ernie Kovacs...but with Ernie's guidance, Edie loosened up and emerged as a versatile entertainer who could sing, do impressions, and star in skits. She would soon make her Broadway debut in "Wonderful Town," and take nightclub work mixing songs with her comic impressions of Marilyn Monroe, Mae West and Marlene Dietrich. Her next Broadway role was a lead: Daisy Mae in the 1956 production of "Li'l Abner." Her next part, quite different from Daisy Mae, was as the magical, chucklesome fairy godmother in the Julie Andrews TV production "Cinderella." In the late 50's she also issued a few records, notably "The Charming Miss Edie Adams" which included a few songs penned by Ernie Kovacs, including "He Don't Wanna Be Kissed."
Kovacs was killed in a car crash in 1962, and despite doing well as Sid Caesar's wife in "Mad Mad Mad Mad World" a few years later, Edie was not often prominent in films or on TV in the 70's. Her own TV show, "Here's Edie" had a brief run. In 1982, Mia, the daughter of Ernie and Edie, was killed in a car accident, thrown through the sun roof of the vehicle. Her boyfriend survived with minor injuries. Over the years Edie had the usual TV guest credits; Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, Murder She Wrote and Designing Women among them. She married twice more, to actor Marty Mills (they had a son) and to jazz musician Pete Candoli (they were officially divorced in 1989, but had been separated for a decade).
Edie's "charming" album with various Kovacs tunes was re-issued by Varese Sarabande on CD, and "Cinderella" and "Li'l Abner" (stage, not film version) are also easily available for Edie let's go back to where it all began and hear an example of Edie's "straight" work and Ernie Kovacs being Ernie, on "Indian Love Call."
INDIAN LOVE CALL by Edie Adams and Ernie Kovacs Listen on line or download, porn-ad free.


CarolynParker said...

My mother had an album of hers in the late 50s, where she wore a long red cocktail dress and the title or the main song I remember was The Lady in Red I can still recall the melody. I have not been able to find it anywhere. Does anyone know of this album? I'm fairly certain ideas Edie Adams.

Ill Folks said...

Edie wore a long red dress on the cover of "Behind Those Swingin' Doors." I don't have that one, so I'm not sure if "Lady in Red" is on it.

I think you may be confusing her with Abbe Lane, who wore a much sexier red dress than Edie's on the cover of an album titled...yes..."The Lady in Red."