Dream Big: the Grove’s Emmy, Grammy & Tony winners

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It’s award season and if you think you can’t make it big if you’re from the Grove, think again. Grove City natives and GCHS graduates have won Emmy, Grammy, Golden and Tony Awards. They’ve even acted in Academy Award winning films.

Edie Adams: (Won 1 Tony Award and nominated for 3 Emmy Awards. Starred in Academy Award winning film for Best Picture)
Edie Adams lived in Grove City from 4th grade to Jr. high, and considered it a substantial part of her childhood. She attributed much of her musical ability to when she was in the Grove City Presbyterian Church Choir with her mother and her music teacher at school. A 1967 Pittsburgh Press article about Edie’s broadway roles stated that during Edie’s childhood “Grove City was a very musical town, and thanks to Miss Burgess there were always choirs, octets, and contests to occupy one’s times. ‘Thinking back to my childhood, it seems that music is the one thing that brought everything together. Life was austere…and my happiest recollections are of times spent singing. I sang in just about every school and church choir there was.” After Grove City, Edie eventually made her way to New York City where she went to Juilliard and graduated from the Columbia School of Drama. In 1950, she won the Miss U.S. Television beauty contest, getting her an appearance with Milton Berle. Soon after she was invited to audition for the Ernie Kovacs show, Three To Get Ready, and she would eventually marry Kovacs. But first she would become the face of Muriel cigars.

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Edie Adams and her husband Ernie Kovaks

She was on television regularly, often with Ernie Kovacs. The two received Emmy nominations for best performances in a comedy series in 1957. That same year she played the Fairy Godmother in Julie Andrews’ popular TV version of Cinderella. She would even play herself in an emotional final episode of the Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour television on CBS (video below).  In 1961 she appeared alongside Doris Day and Rock Hudson in Love Come Back. In 1962, Ernie Kovacs was killed in a car accident. After his death, Edie received her own show on ABC called “Here’s Edie,” where she sang alongside the likes of Sammy Davis Jr. Even though it only lasted a season, Here’s Edie received 5 Emmy nominations. In 1963, she would appear in the star studded It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World with Spencer Tracy, Milton Berle, Sid Caesar, Buddy Hackett, Ethel Merman and Mickey Rooney. Adams would also appear in Fantacy Island, The Love Boat, McMillan and Wife, Murder She Wrote, and Designing Women.

(Edie Adams singing in the somewhat unplanned finale of the Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, which starred Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.  Edie Adams sang “That’s All,” which reduced the entire crew to tears. Later Edie commented that she personally chose the song, unaware that Lucille and Desi would be filing for divorce the next day. Most of the cast and crew new it would most likely be their last episode)

On Broadway, Adams starred in Wonderful Town in 1953, and was Daisy Mae in Li’l Abner in 1956, for which she won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. In 1998, Edie Adams would come back to Grove City one last time to help celebrate the town’s Bicentennial.  She was in the bicentennial parade and the Grove City High School Show Choir performed for her at the Penn Grove Hotel. She passed away in 2008, at the age of 81.  Her obituary was featured in the New York Times.

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Edie Adams and Duke Ellington

 

Patricia Wettig: (Won 3 Primetime Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe for Best Actress)

While Patty Wettig was raised in the Grove and graduated from GCHS. Her father was the Grove City College basketball, tennis and soccer coach. She won 3 Primetime Emmy Awards for Best Actress for her role in ABC’s thirtysomething, which aired from 1987 to 1991. It is often listed as one of the best television shows of all time. Wettig married her co-star, Ken Olin. She also appeared in St. Elsewhere, L.A. Law, Frasier, Hill Street Blues and Remington Steele. Most recently, she appeared in Alias and starred in ABC’s Brothers and Sisters with Sally Field. Her husband produced and acted in the series, while her daughter Roxi had a reoccurring role and her son Clifford worked as a writer. In film, Wettig appeared in City Slickers with Billy Crystal.

 


 

Luke Laird (Won 1 Grammy Award)

Luke Laird went to Grove City High School where he was a star basketball player, and spent much of his time in Grove City playing guitar and singing at everything from High School events to Strawberry Days. After graduating from GCHS in 1997, he went to college in Tennessee and never looked back. Today he is a Grammy Award winning country music songwriter and producer. He won his Grammy producing Kacey Musgraves album, Same Trailer Different Park, which was named Best Country Album.

On top of his Grammy, Laird has also written TWENTY #1 Billboard singles, including Carrie Underwood’s “So Small”, “Last Name”, “Temporary Home”, and “Undo It” and songs for Blake Shelton (Hillbilly Bone), Sarah Evans (Little Bit Stronger), Rodney Atkins (Take a Back Road), Eric Church (Drink in My Hand and Talladega), Little Big Town (Pontoon), among others. He’s also written and produced for Tim McGraw, Rascal Flatts, Kacey Masgraves, Toby Keith, Ne-Yo, John Legend, Jason Aldean, Miranda Lambert, Darius Rucker and several others. In 2011 he founded Creative Nation with his wife, Beth. In 2012 and 2013 he was nominated for Songwriter of the Year at the Academy of Country Music Awards. He won Songwriter of the Year Award at the ACM Awards in 2015.

Oh, and he’s up for another Grammy on February 15th for writing Tim McGraw’s Diamond Rings and Old Barstools.

 

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