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Edie and Ernie

Adam Bernstein

Multi-talented entertainer Edie Adams died the other day. More than a great beauty, she was a highly talented vocalist, a Tony Award-winning stage actress and a gifted comic performer.

She held her own on TV in the 1950s against her then-husband, comedian Ernie Kovacs, a man who once mimicked the "1812 Overture" with snapping celery sticks. She called him the "mad Hungarian."

Kovacs died in a car accident in 1962, and Adams spent her later years dedicated to preserving his wild early legacy. How wild? In researching her life, I came across this comment by Adams:

"He had started out as a newspaper columnist in Trenton, N.J., and, at first, his columns were quite straight. But after about a year, he started taking pot shots at people, writing about how Perry Como had slept through his own show, and so on. And then he really got wacky, writing the most incredible, off-the-wall stuff.

"So he wound up on radio, where he'd do these outlandish things. He'd describe a (fictional) wrestling match on the air, and literally break old bones for sound effects.

"Later, on TV, he did this cooking show, and one day the chef didn't show up. So Ernie taught the kids in the (TV) audience how to make chocolate-covered spinach."

By Adam Bernstein  |  October 23, 2008; 12:01 PM ET
Categories:  Adam Bernstein  
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