About Edie Adams (Edith Elizabeth Enke)
Adams was born as Edith Elizabeth Enke in Kingston, Pennsylvania. The daughter of Sheldon and Ada (Adams) Enke, the family lived in Grove City for some years and spent a year in New York City before moving to Tenafly, New Jersey, where Edie finished high school. Edie's mother taught her how to sing and play the piano; mother and daughter were members of the Grove City Presbyterian church choir. Adams' grandmother, a seamstress, taught her how to sew. She made her own clothing beginning in the sixth grade and later had her own designer line of clothing, called Bonham, Inc.
She earned a vocal degree from the Juilliard School of Music, and then graduated from Columbia School of Drama. Edie also studied at the Actors Studio in New York and the Traphagen School of Fashion Design, where she became adept at designing and sewing. Initially, she could not decide whether to pursue a career in fashion design or music, so she tossed a coin, with music being the winner. In 1950, she won the "Miss U.S. Television" beauty contest, which led to an appearance with Milton Berle on his television show. Her earliest television work billed her as Edith Adams. One of Edie's early television appearances was on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts. She was seen by the producer of the Ernie Kovacs show Three To Get Ready (in Philadelphia), who invited her to audition. Edie, who was well-trained in classical music, had very little experience with popular music and could perform only three songs. She said later, "I sang them all during the audition, and if they had asked to hear another, I never would have made it." She became part of the show in July 1951. In one of the last interviews of his life, her first husband Ernie Kovacs looked back on the early days, saying, "I wish I could say I was the big shot that hired her, but it was my show in name only--the producer had all the say. Later on I did have something to say and I said it, 'Let's get married.".
 Edie and Ernie Kovacs as "Leena Queen of the Jungle" with Adams in 1956.Adams began working regularly on television with comedian Ernie Kovacs and talk show pioneer Jack Paar. After a courtship that included mariachi bands and an unexpected diamond engagement ring, Adams and Ernie Kovacs eloped; they were married on September 12, 1954, in Mexico City. Initially, Adams wasn't certain about marrying Kovacs. She went on a six week European cruise, hoping to come to a decision. After just three days away and many long distance phone calls, Adams returned home with an answer-it was "yes". It was Kovacs' second marriage, and a union that lasted until his death in a car accident on January 13, 1962.
The husband-wife team of Adams and Kovacs received Emmy nominations for best performances in a comedy series in 1957. In 1960, she and husband Ernie Kovacs portrayed themselves as the guest stars in the final Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz "Lucy/Ricky Ricardo" coupling hour-long TV special on the Columbia Broadcasting System network.
After Kovacs' death, his network, ABC, gave Adams a chance with her own show, Here's Edie, which received five Emmy nominations but nevertheless was on for only one season, 1963. Kovacs was a noted cigar smoker, and Adams did a long-running series of TV commercials for Muriel cigars. She remained the pitch-lady for Muriel well after Kovacs' death, intoning in a Mae West style and sexy outfit, "Why don't you pick one up and smoke it sometime?" Another commercial for Muriel cigars, which cost ten cents, showed Adams singing, "Hey, big spender, spend a little dime with me" (based on the song, "Hey Big Spender" from the musical Sweet Charity.) In subsequent years, Adams made sporadic television appearances, including on Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, Murder, She Wrote, and Designing Women.
Edie Adams in a Muriel Cigars commercial, 1965-1966.Adams starred on Broadway in Wonderful Town (1953) opposite Rosalind Russell (winning the Theatre World Award), and as Daisy Mae in Li'l Abner (1956), winning the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. She played the Fairy Godmother in Rodgers and Hammerstein's original 1957 Cinderella broadcast. Adams was to play Daisy Mae in the film version of Li'l Abner, but was unable to due to the late arrival of her daughter, Mia Susan Kovacs.
Adams played supporting roles in several films in the 1960s, including the bitter secretary of two-timing Fred MacMurray in the Oscar-winning film The Apartment (1960) and the wife of presidential candidate Cliff Robertson in 1964's The Best Man. In 2003, as one of the surviving headliners from the all-star comedy It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, she joined actors Marvin Kaplan and Sid Caesar at a 40th anniversary celebration of the movie. She was also a favorite nightclub headliner.
Shortly after her husband's death, Adams won a "nasty custody battle" with Kovacs' ex-wife over her stepdaughters, Kip Raleigh "Kippie" Kovacs (1949–2001) (married Bill Lancaster, (1947–1997) son of Burt Lancaster) and Elizabeth ("Bette"). His ex-wife had previously kidnapped the girls during a visit; Adams and Kovacs worked tirelessly to locate his daughters and return them to their father's custody. The 1984 film Ernie Kovacs: Between the Laughter (in which Adams plays Mae West) deals with the real-life drama. Another court battle began for Adams in the same year; this time with her mother-in-law, who refused to believe there were more debts than assets in her son's estate. Mary Kovacs accused Edie of mismanaging the estate and petitioned for custody of her granddaughters. The dispute lasted for years with Edie remaining the administrator of her husband's estate and the guardian of the three girls.
She also worked for years to pay off Kovacs' massive back-taxes debt to the IRS. The couple's celebrity friends planned a TV special benefit for Edie and her family, but she declined, saying, "I can take care of my own children." Adams spent the next year working practically non-stop.
 Starting overAdams started her own businesses: Edie Adams Cosmetics, which were sold door to door, and Edie Adams Cut 'n' Curl beauty salons, which she began in 1967. Edie also once owned a 160 acre California almond farm and was the spokeswoman for Sun Giant nuts. Because of her 20 years of commercials for Muriel cigars and her successful business ventures, Adams went from being mired in debt after Kovacs' fatal accident in 1962 to being a millionaire in 1989.
Adams had two later marriages, briefly to photographer Martin Mills and then to trumpeter Pete Candoli, with whom she appeared in a touring production of the Cole Porter musical Anything Goes. In addition to taking care of two stepdaughters, she gave birth to two more children; a daughter, Mia Susan Kovacs, who was born in 1959 and killed in an automobile accident in 1982, and a son, Joshua Mills.
 DeathEdie Adams died in Los Angeles, California at age 81. According to her son, the causes were cancer and pneumonia. Edie is buried in Forest Lawn-Hollywood Hills Cemetery between her daughter, Mia, and her stepdaughter, Kippie.
 Archiving Kovacs' workShe is also known for her work in archiving her husband's television work, something she described in detail during a 1999 video taped interview with the Archive of American Television. She later testified on the status of the archive of the short lived DuMont Television Network, where both she and husband Kovacs worked during the early 1950s. Adams claimed that so little value was given to the film archive that the entire collection was loaded into three trucks and dumped into Upper New York Bay.
Upon discovering that her husband's work was disappearing through being discarded and re-use of the tapes, Edie Adams initially used the proceeds of his insurance policy to purchase the rights to as much footage as possible. She also used her own earnings for this purpose.
 Filmography TelevisionThree to Get Ready (1951–1952) Ernie in Kovacsland (1951) (a summer replacement show) Kovacs On the Corner (1952) (canceled after 3 months) The Ernie Kovacs Show (1952–1956) Appointment with Adventure (1955) The Guy Lombardo Show (1956) Cinderella (1957) The Garry Moore Show (1958) The Gisele MacKenzie Show (1958) The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom (1958) The Dinah Shore Chevy Show (1958) The Art Carney Show (1959-premiere) Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour (1960) Take a Good Look (panelist from 1960–1961) The Spiral Staircase (1961) Here's Edie (1963–1964) Evil Roy Slade (1972) Cop on the Beat (1975) Superdome (1978) Fast Friends (1979) The Seekers (1979) Kate Loves a Mystery (1979) Make Me an Offer (1980) Portrait of an Escort (1980) A Cry for Love (1980) The Haunting of Harrington House (1981) As the World Turns (cast member in 1982) Shooting Stars (1983) Ernie Kovacs: Between the Laughter (1984) Adventures Beyond Belief (1987) Jake Spanner, Private Eye (1989) Tales of the City (1993) (miniseries)
 FilmsShowdown at Ulcer Gulch (1956)
The Apartment (1960) Lover Come Back (1961) Call Me Bwana (1963) Under the Yum Yum Tree (1963) It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) Love with the Proper Stranger (1963) The Best Man (1964) Made in Paris (1966) The Oscar (1966) The Honey Pot (1967) Up in Smoke (1978) Racquet (1979) The Happy Hooker Goes Hollywood (1980) Boxoffice (1982) Broadway: The Golden Age, by the Legends Who Were There (2003)
 References1.^ a b c d e f g h i Weber, Bruce (16 October 2008). "Edie Adams, Actress and Singer (and Flirt With a Cigar), Dies at 81". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 17 March 2011. http://www.webcitation.org/5xGN5KsXs. Retrieved 16 October 2008. 2.^ a b Thomas, Bob (15 February 1960). "Edie Adams Explains Why She Does Satire Acting". Reading Eagle. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=qhUrAAAAIBAJ&sjid=xpsFAAAAIBAJ&pg=1860,5798573&dq=edie+adams&hl=en. Retrieved 7 November 2010. 3.^ a b Toomey, Elizabeth (22 August 1956). "Dogpatch Queen Is Edith Adams". Schenectady Gazette. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=GE81AAAAIBAJ&sjid=mYAFAAAAIBAJ&pg=547,2685819&dq=about+edith+adams&hl=en. Retrieved 7 November 2010. 4.^ a b Apone, Carl (9 July 1967). "Daisy Mae From Grove City, PA". The Pittsburgh Press. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=z9MbAAAAIBAJ&sjid=oU8EAAAAIBAJ&pg=4799,2683486&dq=ernie+kovacs+light+cigar&hl=en. 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CBS News. 16 October 2008. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/10/16/entertainment/main4526492.shtml. Retrieved 16 August 2010. 10.^ Thurber, Jon (17 October 2008). "Tony award-winning actress, TV star". LA Times. http://articles.latimes.com/2008/oct/17/local/me-adams17. Retrieved 16 August 2010. 11.^ a b c "Kovacs in Philly". Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia. http://www.broadcastpioneers.com/kovacsinphilly.html. Retrieved 18 August 2010. 12.^ Ryan, Jack (21 January 1962). "Ernie Kovacs:Serious-Minded Clown". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=7rceAAAAIBAJ&sjid=Q2UEAAAAIBAJ&pg=5709,4130335&dq=ernie+kovacs&hl=en. Retrieved 6 August 2010. 13.^ "Video-You Tube-Leena Queen of the Jungle". 1956. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tk3KLuk5iAQ. Retrieved 9 July 2010. 14.^ a b Wilson, Earl (18 February 1954). "Edith Adams Does Her Sleeping In Afternoon". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=miAhAAAAIBAJ&sjid=0mQEAAAAIBAJ&pg=3229,3186135&dq=ernie+kovacs&hl=en. Retrieved 11 July 2010. 15.^ Kleiner, Dick (30 January 1954). "The Marquee: About Edith Adams". Gazette and Bulletin. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=r6Q8AAAAIBAJ&sjid=syoMAAAAIBAJ&pg=1134,9683779&dq=ernie+kovacs&hl=en. Retrieved 11 July 2010. 16.^ Nachman, Gerald, ed (2004). Seriously Funny: The Rebel Comedians of the 1950s and 1960s. Back Stage Books. pp. 659. ISBN 0823047865. http://books.google.com/?id=B_Yzl5uXacwC&pg=PA200&dq=ernie+kovacs&q=ernie%20kovacs. Retrieved 11 July 2010 17.^ Wilson, Earl (17 September 1954). "Nasty Old Civilian Food". Miami News. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=Pa8zAAAAIBAJ&sjid=oOgFAAAAIBAJ&pg=5269,3220593&dq=ernie+kovacs&hl=en. Retrieved 10 July 2010. 18.^ a b Adir, Karin, ed (2001). The Great Clowns of American Television. McFarland & Company. pp. 270. ISBN 0786413034. http://books.google.com/?id=5jr9L--C4tMC&pg=PA169&dq=edie+adams&q=edie%20adams. Retrieved 17 July 2010. 19.^ a b Kovacs, Edie Adams (20 July 1958). "Ernie Kovacs-what a husband!". Palm Beach Post. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=NMoqAAAAIBAJ&sjid=4MwFAAAAIBAJ&pg=2654,3557750&dq=edie+adams&hl=en. Retrieved 7 November 2010. 20.^ Kanfer, Stefan, ed (2004). Ball of fire: the tumultuous life and comic art of Lucille Ball. Alfred A. Knopf. pp. 384. ISBN 037572771X. http://books.google.com/?id=j66uvWzubRwC&pg=PA214&dq=edie+adams&q=edie%20adams. Retrieved 17 July 2010 21.^ "Altadis USA Company History". Altadis USA. http://www.altadisusa.com/company.asp. 22.^ "They Reduce In Fast Musical". Daytona Beach Morning Journal. 22 December 1956. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=7I8tAAAAIBAJ&sjid=hskEAAAAIBAJ&pg=888,3827284&dq=ernie+kovacs&hl=en. Retrieved 12 November 2010. 23.^ Li'l Abner-Broadway and Dogpatch. Life. 14 January 1957. http://books.google.com/books?id=P1QEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA74&dq=abner+li'l+intitle:life&hl=en&ei=eLn2TaeeJ4jd0QHgq-zrDA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CC0Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=abner%20li'l%20intitle%3Alife&f=false. Retrieved 13 June 2011. 24.^ Vallance, Tom (18 October 2008). "Edie Adams: Actress, singer and comedienne and widow of Ernie Kovacs". The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/edie-adams-actress-singer-and-comedienne-and-widow-of-ernie-kovacs-965485.html. Retrieved 9 February 2011. 25.^ a b c Bunzel, Peter (5 April 1963). Edie Wins A Big One. Life. http://books.google.com/?id=TkkEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA93-IA2&dq=edie+adams#v=onepage&q=edie%20adams&f=false. Retrieved 17 July 2010. 26.^ "Edie Adams Wins Custody Of Children". The Dispatch. 15 September 1962. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=mk4cAAAAIBAJ&sjid=WFEEAAAAIBAJ&pg=5622,3756505&dq=ernie+kovacs&hl=en. Retrieved 10 July 2010. 27.^ a b "Kippie Kovacs Lancaster grave-Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills, CA". Find A Grave. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=6096309. Retrieved 27 June 2010. 28.^ "William Henry Lancaster". Find A Grave. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=39966952. Retrieved 27 June 2010. 29.^ "Grandmother Again Held On Kidnapping". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. 28 January 1954. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=wiEhAAAAIBAJ&sjid=3GQEAAAAIBAJ&pg=1402,4911650&dq=ernie+kovacs&hl=en. Retrieved 10 July 2010. 30.^ "Edie Adams Has Part In Kovacs Revival". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 14 May 1984. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=beYNAAAAIBAJ&sjid=G24DAAAAIBAJ&pg=7159,3233920&dq=ernie+kovacs&hl=en. Retrieved 11 July 2010. 31.^ "Ernie Kovacs Estate Causes Family Dispute". The Montreal Gazette. 26 December 1962. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=RYEuAAAAIBAJ&sjid=I54FAAAAIBAJ&pg=3374,4556406&dq=mary+kovacs&hl=en. Retrieved 15 October 2010. 32.^ "Survivors Tilt Over Kovacs' Will". The Spokesman-Review. 16 March 1963. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=XHIpAAAAIBAJ&sjid=VekDAAAAIBAJ&pg=4548,529017&dq=mary+kovacs&hl=en. Retrieved 15 October 2010. 33.^ "Bits of Show Business". The Milwaukee Journal. 19 December 1966. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=vHUfAAAAIBAJ&sjid=BSgEAAAAIBAJ&pg=7410,7098843&dq=mary+kovacs&hl=en. Retrieved 15 October 2010. 34.^ a b Wilson, Earl (30 July 1963). "Edie Pays Off Ernie's Debts". St. Petersburg Times. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=DBUmAAAAIBAJ&sjid=d1IDAAAAIBAJ&pg=5544,5248530&dq=ernie+kovacs+californian&hl=en. Retrieved 27 October 2010. 35.^ a b Roddy, Dennis (1 August 1998). "Edie Hits a High Note". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. http://www.post-gazette.com/columnists/19980801roddy.asp. Retrieved 12 July 2010. 36.^ "Edie Adams: She's Out There Pitchin'". The Palm Beach Post. 20 May 1972. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=i4EyAAAAIBAJ&sjid=G7cFAAAAIBAJ&pg=1651,2167261&dq=edie+adams+muriel&hl=en. Retrieved 26 November 2010. 37.^ Clark, Kenneth R. (2 September 1982). "Edie Adams Narrates Kovacs Special". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=lp4cAAAAIBAJ&sjid=OGgEAAAAIBAJ&pg=2293,801869&dq=edie+adams+muriel&hl=en. Retrieved 26 November 2010. 38.^ "Edie Adams Pens Memoirs". Schenectady Gazette. 12 October 1989. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=_BQxAAAAIBAJ&sjid=y-AFAAAAIBAJ&pg=4944,3522984&dq=edie+adams+muriel&hl=en. Retrieved 26 November 2010. 39.^ "Crash Kills Daughter Of Late Ernie Kovacs". The Pittsburgh Press. 10 May 1982. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=N-EhAAAAIBAJ&sjid=x10EAAAAIBAJ&pg=7029,5596234&dq=ernie+kovacs+californian&hl=en. Retrieved 27 October 2010. 40.^ "Edie Adams grave-Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills, CA". Find A Grave. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=30618541. Retrieved 27 June 2010. 41.^ Edie Adams Interview | Archive of American Television. Retrieved February 15, 2011. 42.^ Adams, Edie (March 1996). "Television/Video Preservation Study: Los Angeles Public Hearing". National Film Preservation Board. Library of Congress. http://www.loc.gov/film/pdfs/tvadams.pdf. Retrieved 24 September 2007. (PDF) 43.^ Thomas, Bob (27 March 1968). "Edie Adams Arranges Ernie Kovacs' Special". Sumter Daily Item. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=rZkiAAAAIBAJ&sjid=y6oFAAAAIBAJ&pg=2689,7886996&dq=ernie+kovacs&hl=en. Retrieved 16 July 2010. 44.^ "Ernie in Kovacsland". Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0043195/. Retrieved 8 November 2010. 45.^ "Eddie's Back And Full Of Guest Stars". The News and Courier. 11 November 1958. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=FsdJAAAAIBAJ&sjid=8AoNAAAAIBAJ&pg=1858,1734351&dq=edie+adams&hl=en. Retrieved 7 November 2010. 46.^ Humphrey, Hal (20 July 1958). "Edie Adams:Songs Before Laughter". The Pittsburgh Press. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=nl0bAAAAIBAJ&sjid=UE4EAAAAIBAJ&pg=5452,1480518&dq=edie+adams&hl=en. Retrieved 7 November 2010. 47.^ "Edie Adams, Miss Umeki Join Guests". The Modesto Bee. 18 September 1959. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=Zf0wAAAAIBAJ&sjid=WuEFAAAAIBAJ&pg=5317,3296647&dq=edie+adams&hl=en. Retrieved 7 November 2010. 48.^ "Edie Adams Gets Role". The Montreal Gazette. 30 September 1961. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=0ZgtAAAAIBAJ&sjid=kZ0FAAAAIBAJ&pg=1630,5557737&dq=edie+adams&hl=en. Retrieved 7 November 2010.  External links
Kovacs and his second wife, Edie Adams, met in 1951 when she was hired to work on his WPTZ show, Three To Get Ready. Her appearance on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts caught the eye of Kovacs' producer, and he asked her to audition for the program. A classically trained singer, she was able to perform only three popular songs. Edie said later, "I sang them all during the audition, and if they had asked to hear another, I never would have made it."  Quoting Kovacs, "I wish I could say I was the big shot that hired her, but it was my show in name only--the producer had all the say. Later on I did have something to say and I said it, 'Let's get married.'"  After the couple's first date, Kovacs proceeded to buy a Jaguar, telling Adams he wanted to take her out in style. He was seriously taken with the beautiful and talented young woman, courting her with imagination and flair. Kovacs' attempts to win Adams' heart included hiring a mariachi band to serenade her backstage at the Broadway musical she was performing in and the sudden gift of a diamond engagement ring, telling her to wear it until she made up her mind. Ernie continued this romantic quest after the show went out of town. Adams booked a six week European cruise which she hoped would let her make up her mind whether or not to marry Kovacs. After only three days away and many long-distance calls, she cut short her trip and returned to say "yes". They eloped and were married on September 12, 1954 in Mexico City. The ceremony was presided over by former New York City mayor William O'Dwyer and was performed in Spanish, which neither Kovacs nor Adams understood; O'Dwyer had to prompt each of them to say "Sí" at the "I do" portion of the vows. Adams, who had a very middle class upbringing in suburban New Jersey, was smitten by Kovacs' quirky ways; the couple remained together until his death. (Adams later said about Kovacs, "He treated me like a little girl, and I loved it—Women's Lib be damned!")
Adams also supported Kovacs' struggle to reclaim his two older children after the kidnapping by their mother. She also was a regular partner on his television shows. Kovacs usually introduced or addressed her in a businesslike way, as "Edith Adams". Adams was usually willing to do anything he envisioned, whether it was singing seriously, performing impersonations (including a well-regarded impression of Marilyn Monroe), or taking a pie in the face or a pratfall if and when needed. The couple had one daughter, Mia Susan Kovacs, born June 20, 1959.
Kovacs and his family shared a 16 room apartment in Manhattan on Central Park West that seemed perfect until Ernie went to California for his first movie role in Operation Mad Ball. The experience of the totally different, laid-back lifestyle of Hollywood made a big impression on him. He realized he was working far too much in New York; in California he would be able to work less hours, do just as well or better, and have more time for Edie and his daughters. At the time he was working most of the time and sleeping about two or three hours a night. When he was telling his girls a bedtime story and found himself thinking of writing it up instead, Ernie realized it was time for a change. Kovacs moved his family there in 1957, after Edie finished Li'l Abner on Broadway