Joe Adams, Decades Long Manager of Music Giant Ray Charles, to Receive Doctorate in Chicago

Portrayed in Critically Acclaimed Movie 'Ray' by Actor Harry Lennix

May 10, 2007, 01:00 ET from Ray Charles Enterprises

    CHICAGO, May 10 /PRNewswire/ -- One of music's legendary figures, Joe
 Adams, 83, who was Ray Charles' manager and business partner for over 45
 years, and a pivotal figure in the political and cultural landscape of Los
 Angeles for the last half century, is going to receive an Honorary
 Doctorate from Columbia College (ceremony at Navy Pier, 3:30PM) in Chicago
 on Saturday.
     Himself a major raconteur, emcee, radio star and award-winning actor,
 Adams was portrayed in the critically-acclaimed movie, "Ray," by Harry
     Over the years, Adams and his wife have made major contributions to a
 host of colleges and he has previously received several doctorates,
 including one from historic Morehouse College in Atlanta.
     Although he's been the longtime president of Los Angeles-based Ray
 Charles Enterprises, Adams jokes, "I was never officially hired."
     "Ray and I never formally signed any agreement, we were too busy and
 never got around to it."
     Sitting at attention behind a massive glass topped desk, that has been
 the pulse center of Ray Charles' personal and professional life for the
 past half century, Joe Adams still carries the final word on every
     Rising to prominence in radio after serving with the Tuskegee Airmen in
 World War II, Adams was the first black D.J. to host a prime-time show in
 Los Angeles which became number one.
     Stars galore appeared on Mr. Adams' radio broadcasts -- among them Duke
 Ellington, Billie Holiday, and Tommy Dorsey, to name just a few -- but none
 shown brighter than Joe Adams himself, for whom Duke Ellington and Billy
 Strayhorn even provided a musical theme.
     During that same time span, Adams landed on television with "Adams
 Alley" and "Joe Adams Presents".
     Not surprisingly, Hollywood also beckoned and soon he was starring
 along with Dorothy Dandridge and Harry Belafonte in films like "Carmen
     Adams appeared in over 25 motion pictures, including "The Manchurian
 Candidate" and "Carmen Jones".
     In 1958, he received the Golden Globe Award as Outstanding New Actor.
     With no formal training as an actor, Mr. Adams was stunned when
 Broadway, too, beckoned for his services, though Mr. Adams continually
 refused -- until, that is, David Merrick proposed an irresistible
 opportunity: a starring role opposite Lena Horne and Ricardo Montalban in
 Yip Harburg and Harold Arlen's classic musical, "Jamaica."
     In 1959, after a two-year run with "Jamaica," Adams was asked by Ray
 Charles to move behind the scenes to manage the career of Ray Charles and
 Ray Charles Enterprises, a post he held for the last 48 years.
     However, Adams' most lasting legacy will always be his unique
 partnership, one of the longest running in show business, that he enjoyed
 with the late Charles. Together, they donated millions to charity, endowing
 many African American colleges and universities with their hard won
     "I cherish the time that I spent with Ray, he was truly amazing,"
 recalls Adams.
     Charles, a music icon, died in 2004.

SOURCE Ray Charles Enterprises