Adam Wade, whose resume includes hit songs on the Billboard 100 and appearances in iconic Black films, died at his home in Montclair, New Jersey on Thursday (July 7), according to The Hollywood Reporter. He was 87 years old.
The multi-talented Wade, who made history in 1975 as the first Black game show host with Musical Chairs, lost his battle with Parkinson’s disease, his wife Jeree Wade, told the news outlet.
The Pittsburgh native, who was named Patrick Henry Wade, developed a smooth romantic crooning style in his attempt to imitate his boyhood idol, Nat King Cole. He worked with Cole’s brother, Freddy Cole, in New York City when starting his career. He also opened for Tony Bennett at the famous Copacabana nightclub.
In 1961, Wade racked up three Top 10 Billboard 100 hits: “Take Good Care of Her,” which reached No. 7, “The Writing on the Wall” (No. 5) and “As If I Didn’t Know” (No. 10).
Wade launched his acting career in the 1960s. His first on-screen appearance came in 1966 on an episode of the Tarzan television series. Wade followed that with several film roles, including Shaft (1971) and Claudine (1974), starring Diahann Carroll and James Earl Jones. His TV acting included appearances on Sanford & Son and The Jeffersons.
Wade also displayed his gifts on stage in regional theater and on Broadway. In 2002, he was an understudy for Ben Vereen in I’m Not Rappaport.
In addition to his wife, Wade is survived by his children Ramel, Patrice, Jamel and Latoya, and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.