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Tony Adams, 52; Producer for Blake Edwards' Films, Brought 'Victor/Victoria' to Broadway

October 26, 2005|Valerie J. Nelson | Times Staff Writer

Tony Adams, who was 21 when he began producing a string of movies for Blake Edwards, including six "Pink Panther" films, "10" and the screen and stage versions of "Victor/Victoria," has died. He was 52.

Adams died Saturday at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City after suffering a stroke, said Peter Cromarty, a spokesman for the producer.

"We felt he was our second son," Edwards and his wife, Julie Andrews, said in a statement. "He was a beloved, dear, trusted and talented friend."

As a partner in Hello Entertainment, Adams had been developing and producing theatrical shows in New York City.

On "The Return of the Pink Panther" (1975), Adams served as associate producer. He produced five more installments in the "Pink Panther" series, including the final one, "Son of the Pink Panther" (1993).

Adams also worked on several films that starred Andrews, including "10" (1979), "S.O.B." (1981), "Victor/Victoria" (1982) and "The Man Who Loved Women" (1983).

In 1995, Adams was instrumental in bringing the stage version of "Victor/Victoria" to Broadway. He convinced Andrews that it was the right way for her to return to the New York stage and told Edwards it was pointless to keep paying yearly options for the stage rights if he wasn't going to use them.

"Victor/Victoria" ran for more than 700 performances. Anne Runolfsson, Adams' third wife, was Andrews' understudy.

Anthony Patrick Adams was born in Dublin, Ireland, on Feb. 15, 1953. With his eight siblings, he grew up running the family's theater in central Ireland.

His first job in the movies was tutoring the children of British director John Boorman on the set of "Deliverance" (1972).

One of the movie's stars, Burt Reynolds, gave the teenager a job on his Florida ranch and introduced him to Edwards, who brought him west to be his assistant.

Adams drove the Edwards children to school, attended Pepperdine University and soon joined the Edwards family business.

After producing some films over the years that were less than successful -- including "Sunset" (1988) and "A Fine Mess" (1986) -- he said simply: "Hits are better."

Adams' first two marriages ended in divorce.

In addition to his wife, his survivors include daughters Molly Adams of Santa Monica and Tess Adams of New York City; sons Andrew Hopewell of Malibu and Alister Adams of Toronto; four sisters and four brothers.

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