Adler was born in Chicago, Illinois, and he grew up in Boyle Heights, in East Los Angeles. He started his career as a music publisher at Screen Gems music and their label, Colpix.
He started writing songs, occasionally under the name Barbara Campbell, and was credited with co-writing the 1960 hit song "Wonderful World" made famous by Sam Cooke as well as a couple of surf-themed hits he co-wrote with Jan & Dean (who he managed.) In 1966, Adler broke away to start his own label, Dunhill Records. His acts included The Mamas and the Papas, Johnny Rivers, and The Grass Roots, among others. In 1967, he sold the label to ABC Records and started a new label, Ode Records. That same year, he produced the Monterey Pop Festival, as well as a film documentary of the festival. In 1972, Adler produced the LP Tapestry for Carole King, which went on to win Grammy awards for Album of the Year and Record of the Year for the single "It's Too Late." Adler also had great success with another Ode act, comedy duo Cheech & Chong. The pair had several LPs on the label, and later starred in a series of films based on their comedy, also produced by Adler, the most popular of which was Up In Smoke, which he also directed.
After seeing an original performance of the 1973 British musical The Rocky Horror Show at The Theater Upstairs in London, Adler bought the rights and brought it to his club. After several months of success of the show and its original cast LP on his Ode label, Adler went on to produce a 1975 adaptation of the musical, The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Although the film was initially considered a failure, clever marketing on the part of Adler and others at distributor 20th Century Fox led to a massive cult success. Among Adler's wisest moves was retaining the rights to the original soundtrack album of the film, which continues to be a healthy seller 40 years after its initial release.
Adler remains active in his promotion and dedication to Rocky Horror, attending and creating special events supporting the film and its cult following. He was also actively involved with the creation and production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let's Do the Time Warp Again, which aired on Fox television in October 2016. Although the reception of the film was mixed, it did bring renewed interest to the original, with elevated attendance in theaters as well as returning The Rocky Horror Picture Show Original Soundtrack Album to various album sales charts.
In 2006, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame, and he was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2013.
2013: The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let's Do the Time Warp Again (producer)
2013: Cheech & Chong's Animated Movie (producer)
2011: Cheech & Chong's Animated Game (Video Game) (executive producer)
1992: American Me (executive producer)
1982: Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains (Director)
1981: Shock Treatment (executive producer)
1978: Up in Smoke (producer/director)
1975: The Rocky Horror Picture Show (executive producer)
1970: Brewster McCloud (producer)
1968: Monterey Pop (Documentary) (producer)
Conventions and Notable Events Attended
1983: The Rocky Horror Picture Show Halloween Audience Par-Tic-I-Pation! Midnight Screening
1985: 10th Anniversary Convention
1990: 15th Anniversary Convention
1995: The Rocky Horror 20th Anniversary Celebration
2000: 25th Anniversary Convention
2010: 7 Deadly Sins: The Rocky Horror Picture Show 35th Anniversary Convention
2010: RHPS Tribute and Costume Ball
2010: The Rocky Horror Picture Show 35th Anniversary
2010: Rocky Horror Picture Show Day
2015: UA Westwood - Westwood CA Rocky Horror Picture Show Day Ceremony
2015: Regent Theatre, Westwood, CA Rocky Horror Picture Show Day Screening
2016: The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let's Do the Time Warp Again Premiere - Roxy Theatre (West Hollywood CA)