Adams was born in Brooklyn, New York as Joseph Abramowitz. For many years, he wrote the “Strictly for Laughs” column in the New York Post. His wife, Cindy Adams (to whom he was married from 1952 until his death), remains a society/gossip columnist for the same paper. Adams’ career spanned more than 70 years and included appearances in nightclubs and vaudevilles. He also hosted for a while his own radio show and wrote 23 books, including “From Gags to Riches,” “Joey Adams Joke Book,” “Laugh Your Calories Away”, “On the Road with Uncle Sam” and “Encyclopedia of Humor.” He made numerous television appearances over the years, including on The Ed Sullivan Show and Howard Stern’s 1990s TV shows, and was in the films Singing in the Dark (1956, of which he was also executive producer), Don’t Worry, We’ll Think of a Title (1966), and Silent Prey (1997). For years, he also hosted a radio talk show on WEVD in New York.
For his civic work, he was honored by Presidents and statesmen, and he held honorary doctorates in comedy from Columbia, New York University, Long Island University and City College, his alma mater. He was active in the Friars Club and was president of the American Guild of Variety Artists AGVA. He was appointed as Commissioner of Youth for the City of New York by Mayor Robert F. Wagner emulating LaGuardia’s civic-mindness in recognition for his efforts in battling juvenile delinquency on behalf of the AGVA Youth Fund. Governor Rockefeller also encouraged him to spread his program throughout the entire state and eventually it moved westward to California. Adams died at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan, aged 88, from heart failure. Eulogies were delivered by Adams’ widow and Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
- January, 06, 1911
- Brooklyn, New York
- December, 02, 1999
- New York, New York