The Heartbreaking Death Of Musical Chairs Game Show Host Adam Wade

The entertainment world is mourning the loss of Adam Wade, who has died after a battle with Parkinson's disease at the age of 87, according to The Hollywood Reporter

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Wade set his sights on becoming a scientist and even worked under Dr. Jonas Salk, who created the polio vaccine. But Wade's first love was singing, and he wanted to emulate his favorite performer, Nat King Cole. He started his career working with Cole's brother, Freddy, in New York City and also opened up for Tony Bennet at the Copacabana, per BET

Wade was signed to Coed Records in 1959 and went on to have three Top 10 Billboard 100 hits. He also launched an acting career in the 1960s, making his debut on an episode of "Tarzan." His other credits include films such as "Shaft," "Crazy Joe," and "Claudine," while his television work included "The Jeffersons," "Kojak," and "Good Times," per IMDb. Wade made television history in 1975 when he became the first Black television game show host on "Musical Chairs," and detailed how producers received hate mail as a result.

"I'm sure [they] hid some of the letters from me, so I wouldn't get upset," he told Connecticut Public Radio. "One I did see was from a guy who used all kinds of expletives, saying he didn't want his wife sitting at home watching the Black guy hand out the money and the smarts."

Adam Wade was proudest of his academic accomplishments

Although "Musical Chairs" was canceled after a few months, Wade's career continued to thrive. He understudied for Ben Vereen on Broadway and performed in regional theater, including the play "On Kentucky Avenue," which he wrote, directed and costarred in alongside his wife. But when asked about his proudest accomplishments, Wade didn't mention his acting or singing achievements.

"I'm most proud of two things. I went back to college, which I hadn't finished, at age 60, and earned two degrees: my BA from Lehman College, and my MA from Brooklyn College, where I studied theater history and criticism," he told Connecticut Public Radio. " And the other is that, as a young man, I worked as a lab technician for Dr. Jonas Salk, who developed the vaccine for polio. I was the first one in my family to go to college, but dropped out in my sophomore year from Virginia State University. I promised my grandmother back then that I would finish college someday. Many years later, I kept that promise."

Wade died in his home in Montclair, New Jersey, his wife — singer Jeree Wade — confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter. In addition to Jeree, Wade is survived by his children, Ramel, Patrice, Jamel and Latoya, as well as several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.