Tom Adair

Last updated
Tom Adair
Birth nameThomas Montgomery Adair
Born(1913-06-15)June 15, 1913
Newton, Kansas, United States
DiedMay 24, 1988(1988-05-24) (aged 74)
Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
Occupation(s) Songwriter, composer, and screenwriter

Thomas Montgomery Adair (June 15, 1913 – May 24, 1988) was an American songwriter, composer, and screenwriter.



Adair was born on 15 June 1913, in Newton, Kansas, where his father owned a clothing store: he was the only child of William Adair and Madge Cochran.

Around 1923 the family moved to Los Angeles, where Tom Adair attended Los Angeles Junior College (now Los Angeles City College). In his early career he worked as a complaints clerk at the local power company, while writing poetry and song lyrics in his spare time. [1]

In 1941, Adair met Matt Dennis in a club and the duo began writing songs together. Adair's song-writing career took him to New York during the 1940s where he penned several Broadway hits, and worked with Tommy Dorsey and Frank Sinatra. He later returned to Los Angeles and worked with writer James B. Allardice on scripts for sit-coms.

In 1949, Adair married Frances Adelle Jeffords; in later life, they worked together on songs and teleplays for Disney. [1] They had 4 children.


After meeting Matt Dennis in 1940, Adair started working with him, moving to New York when the duo were hired by Tommy Dorsey. Adair and Dennis wrote numerous songs for Dorsey, Bing Crosby, and Dinah Shore and penned Frank Sinatra's hit "Let's Get Away from It All." In 1942, Matt Dennis joined the Army Air Corps. Adair moved on to work with Dick Uhl and hit song "In the Blue of the Evening" with Alfonso d'Artega. About the collaboration among Adair, Dennis, and Sinatra, Vanity Fair magazine said "Sinatra's first recording away from Dorsey took place at RCA’s Los Angeles studios on the afternoon of Monday, January 19, 1942. He had chosen the song for his attempt as a soloist, a ballad, naturally, all dripping with romance: it was 'The Night We Called It a Day,' by these new kids Matt Dennis and Tom Adair, who’d written 'Let’s Get Away from It All' and 'Violets for Your Furs.' " [2]

From June 1944, Adair worked with composer Gordon Jenkins in writing a complete score every week for the Auto-Lite radio show, which featured singer Dick Haymes.

He wrote many hit songs, including "Let's Get Away From It All", "Everything Happens to Me", "In The Blue of Evening", "Will You Still Be Mine?", "Violets for Your Furs", "The Night We Called It A Day", "The Skyscraper Blues", "A Home-Sweet-Home In The Army", "How Will I Know My Love?", "Sing A Smiling Song", "Paul Bunyan", "There's No You", and "Weep No More".

In 1949, Adair wrote the lyrics for the Broadway production of Along Fifth Avenue . [3] It ran for 180 performances at the Broadhurst Theatre, with the original cast including Carol Bruce, Jackie Gleason, George S. Irving, Hank Ladd, Donald Richards and Nancy Walker. [4]

After the show closed, Adair returned to Los Angeles, working for Disney in the 1950s. In 1958, Adair first met James B. Allardice while working on "The Ann Sothern Show" (1958); he wrote the music while Allardice was a writer on the show. Adair went on to have a successful partnership working on the sit-com, "Hazel" (1961); however, they also collaborated in the writing on two episodes of "Hazel": "A Replacement For Phoebe" (which aired on 1961-10-02) and "Harold's Good Fortune" (which aired on 1961-11-30). Later the two collaborated on many other shows, including "My Three Sons", "F Troop", "Hogan's Heroes", "I Dream of Jeannie" and "Gomer Pyle". The partnership lasted until Allardice's death in 1966.

A late triumph was the lyrics for an NBC cartoon special, "Babar Comes to America" (1971) with John Scott Trotter.


The Adairs retired to Honolulu, Hawaii in 1984. On 24 May 1988, Tom died at the age of 74.

Music in Films

Music in Television

Award nominations

1957 Academy Award NominatedOutstanding Individual Achievement in Music Julie (Shared with Leith Stevens)
1969 Emmy Award Outstanding Individual Achievement in MusicThe Story of Babar, the Little Elephant(Shared with John Scott Trotter )
2010 41st Annual Songwriters Hall of Fame Awarded & InductedSongwriting Team of Tom Adair & Matt Dennis, contributions to the worldwide landscape of music through an extraordinary expression of lyrics and composition

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  1. 1 2 "Mickey Mouse Club Crew: Tom Adair".
  2. Kaplan, James (2010), "The Night Sinatra Became Sinatra", Vanity Fair
  3. "Tom Adair - Playbill".
  4. "Songwriters Hall of Fame - Gordon Jenkins Stage Productions - ALONG FIFTH AVENUE".