OFF BEAT

OFFBEAT: Never too late for new Edie Adams' Christmas album

Phil Potempa's daily entertainment news column
2012-12-26T00:00:00Z 2013-12-24T14:03:06Z OFFBEAT: Never too late for new Edie Adams' Christmas albumPhilip Potempa philip.potempa@nwi.com, (219) 852-4327 nwitimes.com

Still looking for just the right holiday music for family gatherings and New Year's Eve parties?

The late entertainer Edie Adams has just released her first Christmas album.

Yep, even though Adams, the widow of the late great comedian Ernie Kovacs, died at age 81 in October 2008, Edie's son Josh Mills (from her second marriage to photographer Martin Mills) now runs the family's estate and business dealings under the name Ediad Productions, Inc. He compiled his mother's recordings to create the album.

Omnivore Recordings announced the release of "The Edie Adams Christmas Album," ($13.99) which also features Kovacs, just before the holidays. (www.edieadams.com)

It features classic holiday recordings which Mills said are from the early-to-mid-1950s drawn from the Kovacs' "Unlimited" television show. The 15-track album also includes extensive liner notes coupled with rare photos from her personal archive and duets with her legendary comedian husband.

"Omnivore Recordings did an amazing job compiling "The Edie Adams Christmas Album Featuring Ernie Kovacs," Mills said, discussing his mother.

"Edie Adams never wanted to be known as 'the Widow Kovacs' and this first release from our extensive archive is just the beginning of a reissue campaign that will showcase just how talented she was in her own right. It's clear from the fidelity of the audio, the fantastic packaging and the passion that went into its creation that make this release so gratifying."

Adams, the blonde beauty who was also the second wife of Kovacs, shot to fame because of the popular Sunday newspaper comic called "Li'l Abner," which became the Broadway show Adams won her Tony Award for bringing the buxom Daisy Mae to life on stage.

It was her association with Kovacs, appearing on his popular variety program in the 1950s and 1960s in sketches and her sexy role as spokeswoman for Muriel Cigars during the same decades that earned her status as a household name and the title of Kovacs devoted spouse.

I met and interviewed the still beautiful Adams in February 2007 in Los Angeles and included it, along with photos, in my second book "More From the Farm: Family Recipes and Memories of a Lifetime" (2007 Pediment Press $29.95).

What always impressed me the most about Adams was her devotion to Kovacs, even after his unfortunate death at age 42 after a fatal car accident 50 years ago in January 1962 in Los Angeles. At the time of the accident, caused by slippery road conditions due to a rain storm, Kovacs was driving home from a party at Milton Berle's house the fellow comedian was hosting in honor of wife Ruth expecting a baby. (Because her husband had been working late, Adams had driven there in a separate car.) Adams was so distraught by news of her husband's death, she said actor Jack Lemmon, who was also at the party, had to go in her place to identify the body.

What surprised the public, as well as Kovacs and Adams' famous friends and even Adams, was the revelation that Kovacs' spending, gambling and ongoing disagreements with the IRS about having to pay taxes on his hefty income, left his estate and family saddled with a debt of nearly $600,000.

Despite offers from the couple's close celebrity circle, Adams refused to accept financial assistance and instead repaid all of the money she owned by working in film, television, commercials and a lucrative contract to headline in Las Vegas with Groucho Marx.

Equally tragic, the only child she shared by birth with Kovacs, daughter Mia Kovacs, was killed at age 22 in a 1982 car accident which happened very close to where Kovacs' life also ended.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at philip.potempa@nwi.com or (219) 852-4327.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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