Joe Adams, Radio and Television Personality, Broadway Actor, Philanthropist and Longtime Manager to the Late Ray Charles to Visit Columbia's Campus

Apr 21, 2006, 01:00 ET from Columbia College Chicago

    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
 picture studios.
     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
 the Raelettes.
     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