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Adam Wade, The First Black Person To Host A Network Game Show, Has Joined The Ancestors

Adam Wade, The First Black Person To Host A Network Game Show, Has Joined The Ancestors

He was a pioneering force!

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Adam Wade, the first Black person to host a network television game show, has joined the ancestors.

Patrick Henry Wade, also known as Adam Wade, was born on March 17, 1935, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Westinghouse High School in 1952 before attending Virginia State University where he studied science and worked as a lab technician under Dr. Jonas Salk, the polio vaccine developer. 

In 1959, he found his passion in singing, signing a deal with Coed records, and quickly charting with songs like “Ruby” and “Tell Her for Me.” While in New York, he worked with musicians like Freddy Cole, brother of Nat King Cole, and Tony Bennett, who he opened up for at the Copacabana. Before he knew it, he had appeared on the game show To Tell the Truth

His music career flourished, continuing to score top hits like “Take Good Care of Her,” which reached No. 7 on the charts and was later re-recorded by Elvis Presley, “The Writing on the Wall,” which peaked at No. 5, and “As If I Didn’t Know,” which landed at No. 10. After his first two albums And Then Came Adam (1960) and Adam and Evening (1961), Wade switched labels, signing with Epic Records and replacing Johnny Mathis on their roster. While he had found success, he could never replicate it at Epic but made a smooth transition into onscreen acting. 

Throughout his career, he starred in several hit TV shows and films including Tarzan, The F.B.I., Adam-12, The Jeffersons, What’s Happening!!, Kojak, Good Times, The Dukes of Hazzard, Shaft (1971), Come Back Charleston Blue (1972), Across 110th Street (1972), Gordon’s War (1973), Crazy Joe (1974), Phantom of the Paradise (1974), and Claudine (1974) starring James Earl Jones and Diahann Carroll.  

In June 1975, he made history as the first Black person to host a network game show, starring in Musical Chairs created by Don Kirshner. While the music-based guessing show featuring acts like The Spinners and Sister Sledge was a hit with audiences, an Alabama CBS affiliate refused to air the series simply because Wade was the host. Despite its growing popularity, producers also received a ton of hate mail related to Wade before the show went off the air in October. 

“I’m sure [they] hid some of the letters from me so I wouldn’t get upset. One I did see was from a guy who used all kinds of expletives, saying he didn’t want his wife sitting at home watching the Black guy hand out the money and the smarts,” Wade once told reporters. 

Still, he pressed on, continuing his recording career after the game show and eventually taking his talents to Broadway, studying under Ben Vereen in I’m Not Rappaport in 2002. Wade would continue performing in regional theater productions for decades all while raising his family. 

Wade passed away July 7 at the age of 87 after battling with Parkinson’s disease. He leaves to cherish his memory, his wife of 30 plus years, singer Jeree Wade, his children Ramel, Patrice, Jamel and Latoya, and a host of grandchildren, great-grandchildren, family and friends. 

Thank you for breaking down barriers and opening doors for more representation in the entertainment industry, Mr. Wade! Rest in great peace and power! 

Photo Courtesy of Everett Collection/Hollywood Reporter