Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
(b 17 March '37, Pittsburgh PA) Singer, actor. Worked as lab assistant after college, later for Dr Jonas Salk of polio vaccine fame. Infl. by Nat King Cole, Jesse Belvin, went to NYC '60; soon signed to Co-Ed Records; within six months opened at the Copacabana. Vocally similar to Johnny Mathis; minor hits '60 followed by greater success: "Take Good Care Of Her', "The Writing On The Wall', "As If I Didn't Know' all top 10 '61; LPs incl. And Then Came Adam, Adam And Evening. Signed to Epic '65 to replace Mathis, who was leaving CBS; LPs incl. One Is A Lonely Number, What Kind Of Fool Am I, A Very Good Year For Girls, but only one minor single ("Crying In The Chapel' no. 88 '65); without recording contract by '69. Became TV actor; first black entertainer to host network show (Musical Chairs) '76; resumed recording '77 with funkier Adam Wade for Kirshner Records (incl. "Alexander's Soul Time Band'); played six months in all-black cast of Guys And Dolls in Las Vegas '78.