The always wonderful Edie Adams passed away yesterday at the age of 81.
Despite a long and varied career--she played the ingenue in Leonard Bernstein's Wonderful Town, won a Tony for Li'l Abner and reached Stella Stevens-esque levels of hotness in several films, most notably It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World--she will always be best known to many of us as Ernie Kovacs' wife.
My mom adored Kovacs, and frequently would go on and on about his greatness, and how touching it would be to see Ernie and Edie together on TV, and how even when you sometimes sensed tension between them, you could always feel the love. I had to take her words on faith, since Kovacs died before I was born.
In the late seventies, PBS aired some kinescopes of Kovacs' work, my first chance to see his work. Mom was right.
In his many TV shows and specials, Kovacs showcased Adams in ways nobody else ever did. She could be sexy or sweet, silly or serious. Anything, really. She moved on after Kovacs' death in 1962, though he left her in debt, and married twice more. But though she found plenty of work as a singer and character actress, she never quite found the fame she deserved.
Here she is on the final episode of The Lucy/Desi Comedy Hour, with Kovacs watching her adoringly. Her looks, that voice--Ernie was a lucky guy.