Neile Adams Biography
Neile Adams born Ruby Neilam Salvador Adams, on July 10, 1936, in Manila, Philippines, is a Filipino-American actress, singer and dancer. She made more than 20 appearances in films and television series between 1952 and 1991. Her mother was a well-known dancer in the Far East known as Miami and was of German and Spanish descent.
Neile Adams Age
Adams was born on July 10, 1936 in Manila, Philippines. The My Husband memoir author is 86 years old as of 2018.
Neile Adams Family
Neile Adams’ father, José Arrastia, whom she did not know, was of English, Chinese and Filipino blood. So, Neile was considered a ‘mestiza’, a name for anyone with mixed blood on the islands. Arrastia was a maternal great-grandfather of Spanish singer Enrique Iglesias.
Adams was mainly raised by a family friend, who had worked for and been with the family for decades. Her mother traveled extensively to earn a living and had little time to raise a young child. She never married after Neile was born but had many gentleman callers, one of which was General Douglas MacArthur. Neile’s life was relatively calm until December 8, 1941, a Catholic holiday in the Philippines when all schools were closed in observation. The Japanese invaded Pearl Harbor and all hell broke loose in Manila.
They were in the midst of war. Japanese occupation began and Neile and her mother were taken as prisoners and put in a concentration camp on the grounds of Santo Tomas University where they spent three terrifying years. She and her family survived the camps and when the United States liberated the Philippines from Japanese occupation, she was wounded in the leg with shrapnel but recovered completely.
Her family slowly began rebuilding their lives and soon, her mother was earning a decent living as a dealer in her uncle’s club and their financial situation improved. Shortly thereafter, Neile was shipped off to Rosemary Hall, a boarding school in Greenwich, Connecticut. Her mother had met a new man, Victor, and was unable or unwilling to spare any time for her daughter. So, alone, Neile ended up in a new country with new customs and began her own journey.
After graduating from Rosemary Hall, she took a typing class to pacify her mother and then spent eight weeks in summer stock where she did some acting and set painting. Thereafter, Neile decided to pursue an acting career. Against her mother’s wishes but with her financial support, Neile enrolled in two acting schools and began to find what she’d been looking for in her life, a place to belong.
She had spent much of her childhood watching and copying her mother’s dancing moves and in and around the Philippines. She now found singing and dancing to be exhilarating. She was also captivated by this new world and decided that Broadway is where she wanted to be but she first needed technical training. For this, Neile enrolled in the Katherine Dunham School of Dance and was surprisingly awarded a scholarship to the school.
Neile Adams Husband
Steve Mcqueen Neile Adams | Neile Adams And Steve Mcqueen
Adams has been married twice. Her first husband was actor Steve McQueen whom she met and got married to in 1956. Their marriage resulted into the birth of two children: a daughter, Terry Leslie McQueen (1959–1998), and a son, Chad McQueen, born in 1960. Their marriage however ended in a divorce in 1972. She is now the grandmother of actor Steven R. McQueen through her son Chad McQueen.
Neile Adams Alvin Toffel
Neile later remarried, this time to Alvin Toffel, a political campaign manager and president of the Norton Simon Museum. They got married in 1980 and remained together until Toffel’s death in 2005. They had no children together.
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Neile Adams Children
Neile Adams is a mother of two adults, a daughter by the name Terry, and a son called Chad. Unfortunately, Terry died on March 19, 1998 following a liver transplant. Chad is an actor, film producer, martial artist and race car driver. He is famously known for playing Dutch in The Karate Kid and The Karate Kid Part II.
Neile Adams Grandchildren
Neile has four grandchildren – Terry’s daughter, Molly Flattery McQueen and Chad’s children Steven R. Madison, Chase McQueen and Madison McQueen.
Steven R. Madison is an actor and model while Molly is an actress and producer, known for Reasons I Don’t Have a Boyfriend (2015). Chase is a soccer player in England as a goalkeeper.
Neile Adams Career
In order to subsidize her living, Neile became a model for crime and detective magazines. It was a decent way to make money but she was embarrassed of her mother and quit speaking to her. Incidentally, Steve McQueen also posed for these magazines though they never met during that time.
She lived for her dance classes and soon began to excel. She was invited to join some dance groups and began finding jobs in choruses and finally as the star dancer in Kismet which became a runaway hit. She got an agent, began taking singing classes and tried to tone down her exotic looks. She began receiving great reviews and lead roles in major productions. She was hitting big time!
She began bumping into a young, blond actor in restaurants and such and they shared a few words. It wasn’t until she was on a date with actor/producer Mark Rydell that he would introduce her to Steve McQueen. Unbeknownst to Neile, Steve told Mark that evening that he wanted to date Neile and pretty much made it clear that Mark could do nothing about it.
He began showing up wherever Neile was and they finally went out on a date. His nickname for her was Nellie. She was in love, they shared everything together and he began showing her a world she hadn’t known existed. During this time, her star burned more brightly than Steve’s as he was still struggling to find jobs while she was being offered starring roles.
They got married on November 2, 1956, four short months after their first meeting. At first, she was the primary wage earner in the family, at one time, earning a whopping $50,000 a year (a lot for that era) compared to his $4,000. He was embarrassed by the huge difference in their wages but this allowed him to be more selective about his roles and soon he began getting better and better shots.
Finally, he was offered the starring role in the Wanted: Dead or Alive TV series and began the long road of perfecting the art of being Steve McQueen. Soon after, Neile became pregnant with their daughter, Terry, and had to quit working, Steve was thrilled to finally become the breadwinner, have his wife at home and a new baby to boot! So Neile would put her own dreams of a career aside and would now be a driving force in the career of her husband.
She read scripts and gave him advice on what roles to do and not to do. She assisted him and others on the movie sets and was a much-needed buffer between the Producers/Directors and Steve when tensions got hot. Steve trusted her as much as he could anyone and made many decisions based on her advice. However, he could not and would not be a faithful husband and had many affairs during their stormy 15 year marriage.
They also had a son, by the name Chad but even the love they had for each other and the children could not save their marriage. After one brief fling of her own, Neile filed for divorce. They would remain confidants, friends and lovers for the rest of Steve’s life but they would never again, live under the same roof. Steve soon married the incredibly lovely actress Ali MacGraw in a short-lived and tempestuous marriage. Ali and Neile became close friends then and are still friends to this day.
Neile met Alvin Toffel at a luncheon for her friend, Princess Grace of Monaco. They hit it off and began dating soon after. He was as interesting a man as he was handsome and confident enough to live with and support Neile’s memories of the iconic Steve McQueen.
He was an air force fighter pilot and an engineer with the Gemini and Apollo Space programs. He and Neile married on January 19, 1980 and would remain husband and wife for the rest of his life. Sadly, Steve and Neile’s daughter, Terry, died on March 19, 1998 following a liver transplant. Al Toffel died on March 6, 2005.
Neile Adams Movies
Adams’ Broadway credits include:
- Featured dancer in Kismet
- starred in Pajama Game opposite John Raitt and Julie Wilson
- Broadway-bound At The Grand opposite Paul Muni
Her other screen credits include:
- Women in Chains (1972)
- Fuzz (1972)
- Chu Chu and the Philly Flash (1981)
- Buddy Buddy (1981)
Her television credits include:
- The Perry Como Show
- two Bob Hope Christmas specials
- The Eddie Fisher Show
- The Patrice Munsel Show
- The Pat Boone Show
- The Hollywood Palace
Neile Adams Book – My Husband, My Friend
This is a memoir by Neile Adams McQueen on the real Steve McQueen – from abandoned child to glittering superstar to haunted man. She was his wife of 15 and half years, during which she rode on the dazzling Hollywood roller coaster with him. In the book, Neile reveals a Steve McQueen no one knew – his good side, his crazy side, his dark side . . .
For over fifteen years, Neile Adams was Mrs. Steve McQueen. This is the story of those happy yet turbulent years during the decades that shaped pop culture and saw the rise of a new counterculture in the sixties revolution–when sex, drugs and rock and roll collided with McQueen’s own mid-life crisis. Google Books
Originally published: 1986
Author: Neile Adams
Genres: Biography, Autobiography
Neile Adams Net Worth
The famous dancer has an estimated net worth of $85 Million.