Monday, October 24, 2005

Veteran Producer Tony Adams Dies of Stroke at 52

October 23, 2005 - by BWW News Desk
Tony Adams, the veteran film and stage producer whose credits include Blake Edwards' Pink Panther hits, S.O.B. "10," and the film and stage versions of Victor/Victoria died Saturday, October 22nd, of a stroke at Beth Israel Hospital in Manhattan. He was surrounded by family and friends. He was 52 years old. A Funeral Service is planned for Tuesday, October 25 at 2PM at the Holy Name of Jesus Church (96th Street and Amsterdam).

Prior to his untimely death, Mr. Adams was a Senior Managing Member of Hello Entertainment, a theatre producing company actively developing and producing Broadway shows.

Reached by phone while traveling overseas, Blake Edwards and Julie Andrews said, "We have known Tony for so many years; we felt he was our second son. He was a beloved, dear, trusted and talented friend. We are devastated at this sudden loss and we will miss him, his kindness and his wonderful sense of humour. Our thoughts go out to his family at this time."

Born on February 15th in 1953 in Dublin Ireland, Adams got his start in the film business as movie director John Boorman's personal assistant on the film Deliverance, which was shot in the forests of northern Georgia. Lucky breaks followed for the teen-aged Adams when the star of the picture, Burt Reynolds, heard that Tony wanted to stay in the U.S., he offered him a job on his Florida ranch, which paid for Tony's tuition at Atlantic College in Palm Beach. Reynolds and friend, Dinah Shore, spoke to Blake Edwards and the next stop was Hollywood, where he worked with Blake and Blake's wife Julie Andrews, and attended Pepperdine University.

In 1975, Edwards went to London to shoot The Return of the Pink Panther starring Peter Sellers and Christopher Plummer, and gave the youthful Adams the responsibility of associate producer. He later became president of Blake Edwards Entertainment and produced along with Edwards the following motion pictures: The Pink Panther Strikes Again with Peter Sellers and Herbert Lom, Revenge of the Pink Panther with Peter Sellers, and Burt Kwouk, "10" with Dudley Moore and Bo Derek, S.O.B. with William Holden and Shelly Winters, Victor/Victoria with Robert Preston, Julie Andrews and James Garner, Trail of the Pink Panther with Joanna Lumley and Robert Wagner, Curse of the Pink Panther with David Niven and Ted Wass, The Man Who Loved Women with Burt Reynolds and Kim Basinger, Micki and Maude with Dudley Moore and Amy Irving, A Fine Mess with Ted Dansen and Howie Mandel, That's Life! with Jack Lemmon and Julie Andrews, Blind Date with Bruce Willis and Kim Basinger, Sunset with James Garner and Bruce Willis, Skin Deep with John Ritter and Chelsea Field, Switch with Ellen Barkin and Jimmy Smits, and Son of the Pink Panther with Roberto Begnini and Claudia Cardinale. He also produced the films Millie with James Farrentino and Julie Andrews, and Peter Gunn with Peter Strauss and Chaz Palmenteri.

The Broadway musical version of Victor/Victoria starring Julie Andrews brought Adams to New York in 1995. In addition to Victor/Victoria he produced the Off-Broadway productions of The Immigrant and Minor Demons. For PBS he produced the Lullaby of Broadway: Opening Night on 42nd Street, Julie Andrews: Back on Broadway and the acclaimed television series My Favorite Broadway: The Leading Ladies and My Favorite Broadway: The Love Songs. He also consulted and developed theatre, film and television projects for a broad base of domestic and international companies such as Walt Disney Theatrical Productions, Endemol/Stage Holding, Blake Edwards Entertainment and Ogden (Metropolitan Entertainment).

Mr. Adams had many television specials, concerts and recordings to his producing credits including: Dudley Moore: A Man for All Seasons, a live concert saluting the great entertainer, hosted by Barbara Walters and starring Robin Williams, John Cleese and Chevy Chase; Julie Andrews Live in Las Vegas, London and Tokyo; Sounds of Orchestra with Andre Previn and Julie Andrews in Tokyo for NHK broadcast; Liza in Tokyo with Liza Minnelli for worldwide broadcast and video release; Frank, Julie, Placido and John starring Frank Sinatra, Julie Andrews, Placido Domingo and John Denver; One Night Only with Robin Williams, Julie Andrews and Carol Burnett; Because We Care, a CBS Television special with Danny Kaye, Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson, Billy Crystal, Jane Fonda and John Travolta; An Olympic Evening with Cary Grant, Tom Jones and Anthony Newley; and Life in a Looking Glass, a music video starring Tony Bennett.

In addition to Adams' busy professional career, he had a passion for charitable causes. He was a founding board member of the world relief organization Operation USA, a charity that has won many accolades, most notably a share of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for its part in the International Campaign To Ban Landmines and the 1983 President's Volunteer Action Award, which Adams accepted from President Reagan on behalf of the charity. He traveled extensively with the group and was among the first assembly of Westerners back into Cambodia after the reign of terror by the Khmer Rouge (1979), where he delivered medicines and photographed victims of the Khmer Rouge which were published worldwide. He was a co-founder of Show
Coalition, a Hollywood political action committee and spearheaded fundraising drives for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids.

Over Mr. Adams' prestigious career, his projects were honored with12 Academy Award Nominations, 1 Academy Award, 23 Golden Globe Nominations, 13 Golden Globe Awards, 4 Evening Standard Awards, 1 Cesar Award (French Academy Award), 2 David di Donatello Awards, 3 Grammy Award nominations, and 1 Outer Critics Circle Award.

Always an Irishman at heart, Mr. Adams married three wonderful women and loved his children immensely. His first marriage to Avril Adams and his second marriage to Debrah Farentino ended in divorce. His survivors include his third wife, the Broadway actress Anne Runolfsson; two daughters Molly Adams of Santa Monica, California and Tess Adams of New York City; two sons Andrew Hopewell of Malibu, California and Alister Adams of Toronto, Canada; four sisters Anne Adams, Joan Paybody, Teresa Deane, and Maeve Gallagher of Ireland; and four brothers John Adams of Ireland, Richard Adams of Los Angeles and Seamus Adams of England.

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