CHICAGO, April 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Joe Adams, the man who served as the
late Ray Charles' manager for more than 45 years, will stop by Columbia
College Chicago on Tuesday, April 25th to speak to the Columbia community
about his many careers and his longevity in the entertainment industry. The
discussion will be held at Columbia's Film Row Cinema, 1104 S. Wabash, 8th
Floor from 10 a.m. to noon and is free and open to the public. For further
information call 312.344.7418.
In 1959 as Ray Charles was embarking on his first Big Band tour he
asked Joe Adams, a friend from his radio days, to join him on tour for a
month. Adams said yes, and has been with the Ray Charles organization ever
since -- although until this day he says he was never "officially" hired.
Two years prior, Joe had retired from a successful career in radio and
television and had recently completed a two-year run on Broadway in
"Jamaica" alongside Lena Horne and Ricardo Montalban.
Adams always aspired to be a radio announcer, but knew there was not
much possibility for a black man to have a career as a radio announcer at
the time. He taught himself the art of public speaking by speaking out loud
in vacant lots and later tutored actors preparing for roles at major motion
He began his radio career with several Hollywood stations in the mid-
1940s. He received his first on-air opportunity at Santa Monica station
KOWL. Within two years he had moved from 15 minutes of airtime a day to a
five-and- a-half hour show and the number-one rated deejay show in Los
In 1947 he moved into television with his two name-sake shows: "Adams
Alley" and "Joe Adams Presents," produced for CBS affiliate station KLAC-TV
in Los Angeles. During these early days of television, Adams' two shows
were among the most popular shows at the time. His format of using top
named stars and musicians made him one of the television pioneers of that
era. The musical themes for Joe's two broadcast shows "Take the A Train"
and "Smada" (Adams spelled backwards) were recorded by Duke Ellington.
Adams has appeared in more than 26 motion pictures. His two most
notable roles were Husky Miller in "Carmen Jones" and as Frank Sinatra's
psychiatrist in "The Manchurian Candidate."
"Joe has over four decades of experience in the entertainment industry.
His expertise as an arts manager, musician, on-air radio and television
personality and Broadway actor is dead-on with what we teach here at
Columbia," says Dr. Eric V.A. Winston, Interim Vice President of
Institutional Advancement at Columbia College. "I met Joe several years ago
and had the pleasure of working with him while at Wilberforce University in
Ohio. With Joe's help and support, Ray Charles donated $2 million to
Wilberforce to establish two endowments. In May, Columbia will graduate
approximately 2,000 students many of whom will seek employment in the
entertainment industry. I think having Joe here at this time to give our
students a first-person account into this very diverse industry is of great
benefit to our students."
As an arts manager in Ray Charles' various organizations, Adams has
many roles and responsibilities. As Mr. Charles' business manager he had a
reputation as a shrewd negotiator and personally negotiated all of Ray's
business deals including his award-winning series of commercials for Pepsi
Cola. In his role as Vice President/CEO of RPM International, he oversees
the business activities of the parent company as well as Ray Charles
Enterprises, which includes the activities of the Ray Charles Orchestra and
For a brief period after joining the Ray Charles organization, Adams
briefly held the position of Executive Vice President of Queen Booking
Company, which was once the largest African American owned booking agency
in the United States.
In 1958 he was the first African American to receive the "Golden Globe"
award for Outstanding New Actor. Adams is the recipient of several awards
and honorary degrees. A special educational facility is being built in his
and his wife's name at Morehouse College in Atlanta, where a performing
arts center is also being built in memory of Ray Charles.
Columbia College Chicago, an urban institution committed to access,
opportunity, and excellence in higher education, provides innovative
practice and education in the visual, performing, media and communication
arts to 11,000 students in more than 90 undergraduate and graduate
programs. Founded in 1890 as a communications school for women, Columbia
was revisioned in 1963 as a liberal arts college with a "hands-on,
minds-on" approach to arts and media education and a progressive social
agenda. Under the modern leadership of President Warrick L. Carter, Ph.D.,
Columbia is aggressively pursuing its mission to bring a richness of vision
and a multiplicity of voices to the creation of culture through the
diversity of our students and graduates. For further information visit
SOURCE Columbia College Chicago