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Don Adams

Mostly Credited As: Don Adams
Birth Name: Donald James Yarmy
Date Of Birth: April 13, 1923 (Age 82)
Country Of Birth: USA
Birth Place: New York City, New York
Date Of Death: September 25, 2005
Cause Of Death: Pulmonary Infection (Beverly Hills, California)
Height: 5' 9" (1.75 m)

Don Adams


Born Donald James Yarmy on April 13, 1923 in New York City to Irish-Hungarian parents, Adams prepared for a career as a commercial artist. He joined the U.S. Marines in the early days of World War II. He saw combat in the invasion of Guadalcanal and was the only survivor of his platoon. He contracted blackwater fever and nearly died, remaining hospitalized for more than a year. After his recovery he served as a drill instructor.

Following the war, he embarked on a career as an impressionist and stand-up comedian, appearing in small clubs in Florida and Washington D.C. He married singer Adelaide Adams and took her professional last name as his own stage name. In 1954, his stand-up act, written with his boyhood friend "Bill Dana" , landed him a contestant spot on Arthur Godfrey's "Talent Scouts" (1948), which he won. This led to scores of appearances on comedy and variety series such as "The Steve Allen Show" (1956) and Ed Sullivan's "Toast of the Town" (1948), and ultimately to a regular job on "The Perry Como Show" (1948). He also played in stock and in 1962 starred with Anthony Perkins in the Broadway play "Harold".

Divorced and remarried (to dancer Dorothy Bracken), Adams in 1963 reunited with Bill Dana on "The Bill Dana Show" (1963), playing inept hotel detective Byron Glick, a forerunner to his most famous characterization. NBC placed Adams under contract and gave him the starring role in the Mel Brooks and Buck Henry spy spoof "Get Smart" (1965). As the bumbling yet intrepid secret agent Maxwell Smart, Adams was an instant success. With his alluring straight-woman partner Agent 99 (Barbara Feldon), Adams became a comic icon of the 1960s, popularizing dozens of catch-phrases that still resound today: "Would you believe?", "Missed it by THAT much!", "...and LOVING it!" and "Sorry about that, Chief." Adams reveled in the show and its popularity, and particularly enjoyed writing and directing several episodes. "Get Smart" (1965) ran for five seasons and brought Adams wealth, awards, and worldwide fame. At the same time, he continued to achieve recognition as one of the funniest and most popular stand-up comedians of his generation.

Adams returned in a new series in 1971, "The Partners" (1971), which, though slightly more serious than Get Smart, still had him playing a bumbling law-enforcement officer. This time he starred with Rupert Crosse, the two playing a pair of none-too-bright detectives. The show lasted one season. Except for the intriguing but unsuccessful "Don Adams' Screen Test" (1975) (a contest show in which Adams directed famous stars and amateurs in scenes from classic movies), he did not return to series television for fourteen years. Instead he guest-starred on sitcoms, variety shows, and occasional TV movies. He played Las Vegas showrooms and nightclubs, though he grew increasingly reluctant to perform before live audiences. With the distinctive voice of his on-screen persona, he had long been active in voice-over work. Even during the Get Smart period he had been popular among children as the title voice of the animated "Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales" (1963), and later was even more popular in his title role as "Inspector Gadget" (1983).

Divorced again, he married a third time in 1977 (to Judy Luciano). During this period, Adams starred in and directed a number of commercials, winning a CLIO Award for directing. In 1980, he reluctantly returned to the Maxwell Smart character in a feature film, The Nude Bomb (1980), which he hated. He also brought the character briefly back to television in the 1989 TV movie Get Smart, Again! (1989). In 1985, he returned to series television in a Canadian sitcom, "Check It Out" (1985), in which he played the manager of a supermarket. The show was popular enough to run for three seasons on American TV, but it mainly provided a paycheck for Adams and a co-starring role for a pre-"NYPD Blue" (1993) Gordon Clapp.

In later years, he hoped for a chance at serious roles, of which he had done many in his early years in summer stock. But the opportunity never arrived. A role was actually written for him by his son-in-law Jim Beaver for the revived "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (1985) in 1986, but the producers feared he could not subsume his comedic persona, and the role went to Martin Landau. Instead, he returned to the role that had made him world famous, in a third revival of Maxwell Smart. The 1995 series version of "Get Smart" (1995) featured Adams as Smart, now promoted to Chief of the secret agency CONTROL. Barbara Feldon also returned as his wife and colleague, but instead of the couple who had made television history, the show focused on the bumbling spy efforts of their son Zach Smart. Only seven episodes aired before the new show was cancelled.

Adams spent the remainder of his career doing commercials and voice work, mostly in new Inspector Gadget productions. In 1999, he made a cameo voice appearance in the live-action Inspector Gadget (1999) feature film starring Matthew Broderick as Gadget. Like his brother, the late comic actor Dick Yarmy, Adams was an inveterate horse-player. His leisure time was largely spent either at racetracks or in card games at the Playboy Mansion, and with pals such as 'Hugh Hefner' , James Caan, and Don Rickles. Divorced for the third time, he lived alone in a luxury apartment in Century City. He was a devoted history buff, and was an amateur expert on the lives of Abraham Lincoln and Adolf Hitler. He was a talented poet and painter.

His health declined in later years with the onset of bone lymphoma, but took a precipitous turn for the worse following the death in 2004 of his daughter, actress-casting director Cecily Adams. He died from a lung infection at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Beverly Hills on September 25, 2005. Two of his former wives and three of his children, as well as other family members, were with him when he died.

TV Appearances

Main cast 
Gadget Boy's Adventures in History (1998)As: Gadget Boy -- [Voice]
Pepper Ann (1997)As: Principal Herbert Hickey -- [Voice]
Gadget Boy and Heather (1995)As: Gadget Boy -- [Voice]
Get Smart (1995) (1995)As: Maxwell Smart
Check It Out (1985)As: Howard Bannister
Inspector Gadget (1983)As: Inspector Gadget -- [Voice]
The Partners (1971) (1971)As: Det. Lennie Crooke
Get Smart (1965) (1965)As: Maxwell Smart/Agent 86
Underdog (1964)As: Tennessee Tuxedo -- [Voice]
The Bill Dana Show (1963)As: Byron Glick
Tennessee Tuxedo and his Tales (1963)As: Tennessee Tuxedo -- [Voice]
Episode Cast Credits 

The Love Boat (1977) 
  The Zinging Valentine/The Very Temporary Secretary/Final Score 06x20: (Feb/12/1983) As unknown 
  Isaac's Double Standard/One More Time/Chimpanzeeshines 01x14: (Jan/14/1978) As Lenny Carmen 
  The Love Boat (Sep/17/1976) As Donald Richardson 

Fantasy Island (1977) (1978) 
  The Red Baron/Young at Heart 03x06: (Oct/27/1979) As Cornelius Wieselfarber 

Billy (1979) (1979) 
  The Letter 01x01: (Feb/26/1979) As Himself 

The Flip Wilson Show (1970) 
  Don Adams, Redd Foxx, Mac Davis 04x19: (Feb/28/1974) As Himself 
  Don Adams, The Staple Singers, Roscoe Lee Browne 03x08: (Nov/09/1972) As Himself, [Special Guest Stars]

The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour (1971) 
  Show 40 03x21: (Feb/28/1973) As Himself 

Kraft Music Hall (1958) 
  Don Adams Investigates the Detectives 13x09: (Nov/18/1970) As Himself 
  Don Adams and Don Rickles Are Alive and Well and Living In California 11x16: (Feb/19/1969) As Himself 

Playboy After Dark (1968) 
  Don Adams; Lesley Gore; Fleetwood Mac; Arte Johnson 02x11: (Jan/08/1970) As Himself 
  Carla Thomas; Don Adams; Bill Dana; The Checkmates; Amazing Kreskin 02x03: (Nov/05/1969) As Himself 
  Joan Baez; Don Adams; Tommy Smothers; Avante-Garde 01x16: (Nov/11/1968) As Himself 
  Don Adams; Deep Purple; Brenton Wood; Lynn Kellogg 01x14: (Oct/23/1968) As Himself 

The Emmy Awards (1949) 
  The 21th Annual Emmy Awards 21x01: (Jun/08/1969) As Winner: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (for 'Get Smart') 
  The 20th Annual Emmy Awards 20x01: (May/19/1968) As Winner: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (for 'Get Smart') 
  The 19th Annual Emmy Awards 19x01: (Jun/04/1967) As Winner: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (for 'Get Smart') 

The Hollywood Palace (1964) 
  Host: Don Adams 06x17: (Feb/01/1969) As Himself, [Guest Hosts]
  Host: Don Adams / Janis Joplin 06x05: (Oct/26/1968) As Himself, [Guest Hosts]
  Host: Don Adams / Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood 05x27: (Apr/06/1968) As Himself, [Guest Hosts]

Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In (1968) 
  Episode #4 01x04: (Feb/12/1968) As Himself 

The Carol Burnett Show (1967) (1967) 
  with Don Adams, Lesley Ann Warren 01x11: (Nov/27/1967) As Himself 

The Ed Sullivan Show (1948) 
  Pearl Bailey, Edgar Bergen 14x40: (Jul/30/1961) As Himself 
  Don Adams, Sophia Loren 14x33: (May/28/1961) As Himself 
  Don Adams, The McGuire Sisters 14x15: (Jan/22/1961) As Himself 
  Benny Goodman, Don Adams 13x38: (Jun/19/1960) As Himself 

The Steve Allen Show (1956) 
  Season 5, Episode 19 05x19: (Feb/15/1960) As Himself 
  Season 4, Episode 12 04x12: (Nov/30/1958) As Himself 
  Season 3, Episode 39 03x39: (Jun/29/1958) As Himself 
  Season 3, Episode 21 03x21: (Feb/16/1958) As Himself 
Crew Credits

Show Crew


The Partners (1971) (1971)• Creator

Episode Crew


The Partners (1971) (1971) (Credited in 4 episodes from this show) 
 
New Faces 01x12 Dec/11/1971 As: Director
Our Butler Didn't Do It 01x11 Dec/04/1971 As: Director
Have I Got an Apartment for You! 01x10 Nov/27/1971 As: Director
Here Come the Fuzz 01x01 Sep/18/1971 As: Writer
Get Smart (1965) (1965) (Credited in 15 episodes from this show) 
 
Show all 15 episode crew credits
What's It All About, Algie? 05x23 Apr/24/1970 As: Director
And Only Two Ninety-Nine 05x21 Feb/20/1970 As: Director
And Baby Makes Four (2) 05x08 Nov/14/1969 As: Director
And Baby Makes Four (1) 05x07 Nov/07/1969 As: Director
The Treasure of C. Errol Madre 05x05 Oct/24/1969 As: Director
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