A Broadway featured performer who has appeared in movies and television shows in a career spanning over five decades.
Born in the Philippines of Eurasian descent she spent the Second World War in Japanese-occupied Manila and emigrated to America in 1948, and graduated high school from Choate Rosemary Hall in Greenwich, Connecticut. Marjorie Webster Junior College in Washington D.C. followed and as soon as she was able, moved to New York and was given a scholarship to the Katherine Dunham School of Dance.
A year later she was part of the opening act of the Lena Horne Show at the Cocoanut Grove. Shortly thereafter the 21-year-old became a featured dancer in the Broadway show “Kismet”. Her appearance in New York’s Versailles Club prompted director George Abbott and legendary choreographer Bob Fosse to immediately cast her as the dancing lead in “The Pajama Game.” There she first saw her name in lights on Broadway.
She danced her way into the hearts of producer Joe Pasternak and director Robert Wise where a 7-year contract at MGM awaited her. Her first feature film was “This Could Be The Night” and she became the studio’s hottest young starlet.
During this period, she met and married young actor Steve McQueen after only four months of dating. When Steve’s star rose, they wound up on the cover of Life Magazine and became Hollywood’s newest “power couple”. They were married over 15 years and had two children together: a daughter, Terry Leslie McQueen (1959–1998), and a son, Chad McQueen, born in 1960. There are also four grandchildren from this union: Molly, Steven R., Chase and Madi McQueen
She would later marry Alvin Toffel, then president of the Norton Simon Museum until Toffel’s death in 2005.
Neile’s proudest accomplishment is being the model for Picasso’s PICASSO EROTIC which hangs in the Picasso Museum in Barcelona. Probably the only American to have that honor. “Spanish-speaking though I may be”.
Adams is an active member of the charitable organization, SHARE and is a board member of The Boys Republic of Chino Hills.
Neile was recently featured in an eight page spread in Vanity Fair Spain. She performs her Cabaret shows in Los Angeles, New York, London and Paris and is currently writing and developing a feature film presentation based on her book “My Husband, My Friend.”
Neile Adams is a dancer, singer, and actress. In her early career, to ward off being cast exclusively as a “seńorita” or in just plain old Spanish-speaking parts because of her name, her mother suggested using Adams which was her father’s middle name. Never having seen nor met her father, she soon became Neile Adams. In 1953, she became a lead dancer in “Kismet.” When the show closed in 1955, she was offered a showy role in Versailles Nightclub where George Abbott and Bob Fosse caught her performance and offered her the Carol Haney role in “The Pajama Game” (opposite John Raitt and Julie Wilson) just as soon as her contract ended with the club. To meet both deadlines, she performed at night and rehearsed during the day.
She was personally selected by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II to play a lead in their first National Company Tour of “Me And Juliet.” Adams starred opposite the legendary Paul Muni in the original Broadway-bound production of “At The Grand,” and also starred in numerous regional musical productions, including: “Damn Yankees,” “Bye, Bye Birdie,” “Carousel,” “Can Can,” “South Pacific,” “Connecticut Yankee,” “Where’s Charley?,” “Desert Song,” and others.
Neile Adams opened the Tropicana in Las Vegas in 1958 where she performed for six months and starred with talent including Dick Shawn, Vivian Blaine, Betty and Jane Kean, Dorothy Kirsten, Celeste Holm, and Ernie Kovacs and Edie Adams.
She also appeared in “CAN CAN” at Union Plaza in Las Vegas for a six-month run.
TV & Film
Neile Adams appeared in more than twenty TV shows and films between 1956 and 1991 including: “The Pat Boone Show” (1956); “This Could Be The Night” (MGM – 1957); “The Bob Hope Show” (NBC – Variety-Special filmed in Alaska in 1959); “The Eddie Fisher Show” (1959); “The Patrice Munsel Show” (1959); “The Walter Winchell Show” (1959); “Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Man From The South” (CBS – 1/3/60); “Five Fingers: A Shot In The Dark” (NBC – 1/16/60); “Alfred Hitchcock Presents: One Grave Too Many” (CBS – 5/22/60); “The Bob Hope Show” (NBC – Variety-Special filmed at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs on 11/16/60); “The Perry Como Show” (1960); “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour: Ten Minutes From Now” (NBC – 5/1/64); “The Jack Benny Program: Jack Loses A Raffle” (NBC – 11/13/64); “The Man From UNCLE: The Yellow Scarf Affair” (NBC – 1/25/65); “Fuzz” (United Artists – 1972); “Women In Chains” (ABC Movie-of-the-Week; 1/25/72); “So Long, Blue Boy” (Maryon – 1973); “The Bionic Woman: Max” (NBC – 12/3/77); “The Rockford Files: The Competitive Edge” (NBC – 2/10/78); “Vegas: French Twist” (ABC – 5/6/81); “Buddy Buddy” (MGM-United Artists – 1981); “Chu Chu and The Philly Flash” (20th Century Fox – 1981); “Hotel: Saving Grace” (ABC – 12/4/85); “Nightmare On The 13th Floor” (Movie-of-the-Week – 1990); and “Dead On The Money” (Movie-of-the-Week – 1991).
In recent years, Adams has created and presented her own cabaret shows, which have received rave reviews in L.A.( Catalina Jazz Club. Gardenia ) New York (Danny’s, Metropolitan Club), London (Pizza in the Park and The Pleasantry), Paris (Cafe Universal), Chicago and Palm Springs. She has four CD albums.
Neile Adams McQueen
Neile & Steve
Books and Movies
“A look back not in anger but in understanding … He was a gambler driven to beat the odds … a legendary bad boy with an obsession for fast cars and women … remembered with affection tinged with regret.” – John Barkham Reviews
“THE MACHO STAR OF HIS OWN SUCCESS STORY … CANDID, SALTY, EXTRAORDINARY!” – New York Daily News
“POIGNANT … The intimate story of a neglected childhood and eventual stardom…his womanizing…hid headline affairs…his public scandals.” – Publishers Weekly