Actress and Singer India Adams Dies at 93
BroadwayWorld is saddened to report that India Adams, whose long career as a singer and actress spanned nearly seven decades, died Saturday, April 25th at Tarzana Medical Center in Los Angeles, after a short illness. At 93, she was still working as recently as last year.
Adams is best remembered for dubbing for the stars of two major MGM musicals: Cyd Charisse in "The Band Wagon" and Joan Crawford in "Torch Song." For Charisse, she sang "New Sun in the Sky" as well as the Hollywood anthem, "That's Entertainment" with Fred Astaire, Oscar Levant, Jack Buchanan, and Nanette Fabray. "Torch Song" is notable for two unusual sequences. The first being the only time in film history when a star has performed a duet with her dubber. Crawford's character is supposed to be singing along to a recording of "Tenderly" that she had made years before. It's actually India's voice on the recording that Crawford duets with. In another big production number, India sings "Two-Faced Woman" for Crawford, but the track is actually an out-take from "The Band Wagon." Charisse had filmed the entire song to India's voice and when it was cut, the same track was instead used for Crawford in "Torch Song", another filmmaking first. In "That's Entertainment 3," a split-screen sequence shows both Charisse and Crawford lip-syncing to the same India Adams vocal track.
Adams started her professional singing career while still a schoolgirl in Los Angeles. She was soon under contract to MGM, and recorded an album of songs with pianist Walter Gross. She signed a recording deal with RCA Victor, who issued her first solo album, "Comfort Me With Apples." The album is still in release today on CD, as is the soundtrack album from "The Band Wagon."
She married advertising executive Jack Stanley in 1951 and had their first son, Brian, in 1954. THE FAMILY relocated to New York where she starred in such musicals as "Can-Can," "The Most Happy Fella" and "Brigadoon," in Manhattan and surrounding areas, and was a featured singer at both the Latin Quarter and Radio City Music Hall. A second son, Zane, arrived in 1959. They remained in New York until 1965 when her husband was transferred to London. India and Stanley divorced in 1970, with India marrying English interior designer Quentin Rance in 1974. They were happily married until his death in 2016.
A member of UK Equity, India became a staple on BBC Radio and made numerous television appearances, including a televised Royal Command Performance. She also served as standby for Ginger Rogers in the London production of "Mame" for its entire year-long run at Theatre Royal Drury Lane.
In 1981, India and her husband Quentin moved to Los Angeles where she continued to perform. She appeared at a variety of West Coast venues and released two new albums: "India Adams Sings" and "India Adams Sings Again." She formed the show "Hollywood's Secret Singing Stars" with fellow "ghost singers" Annette Warren, Jo Ann Greer and Betty Wand in 1990. It played a month-long run at the Hollywood Roosevelt Cinegrill, as well as concert appearances at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco, the Norris Theatre in Palos Verdes, the Annenberg Theatre in Palm Springs, the Alex Theatre in Glendale, the Smothers Theatre at Pepperdine University, and the Lehman Center for the Performing Arts in New York. They performed at the 1992 Academy Awards Presentation for Scientific and Technical Achievement.
Adams was among the celebrity panel at the 2012 TCM Festival in Hollywood, discussing "Voice Doubles: They Sang the Songs That Made Movies Famous" and was profiled along with Rita Moreno and Marni Nixon in the BBC documentary "Secret Voices of Hollywood." In 2018, she braved one of New York's worst blizzards to speak at a "Women in Media" event held in her honor, at The New School. It was sold out despite the storm. She performed acting roles in several shorts as well as the features "Southern dysComfort" (2012), "Fake" (2015) and "Followed" with John Savage (2019). She recently filmed a guest role on the TV series "The Roommates" with Barry Bostwick and Bruce Davison.
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