82 (passed away Sep. 25th, 2005)
Apr. 13th, 1923
New York City, New York, USA
5' 8 1/2"
Don Adams' Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles1999 - Inspector Gadget
1987 - Back to the Beach
1982 - Jimmy the Kid
1980 - The Nude Bomb
Guest TV Roles
Don Gibson Jr. (Voiced)
Of Irish-Hungarian heritage, New York-born Don Adams had a sister, Gloria, and a brother, Dick Yarmy. He served in the U.S. Marines in World War II and contracted malaria during the fighting on Guadalcanal island. After the war he began a career as a stand-up comic. He married singer Adelaide Adams and adopted her last name as his stage surname. They had seven children: Carolyn, Christine, Catherine, Cecily Adams, Stacey Adams (I), Sean, Beige. His television career began when he won the "Ted Mack & the Original Amateur Hour" (1948) talent contest. His most famous role, of course, is as bumbling, incompetent, clueless yet endearing secret agent Maxwell Smart in the classic sitcom/spy spoof "Get Smart" (1965), although he also had a career as a television director and a Broadway and theatrical dramatic actor.
- Instead of taking a large paycheck per episode ($12,500 per week) of _"Get Smart" (1965)_ (qv), Adams decided to take a smaller salary and 33% share. It paid off in spades--the show has been running in syndication for decades.
- His Agent 86 catchphrase, "Would you believe...?", became the slogan for commercials for the White Castle hamburger chain in 1992, in which he also acted.
- Remained good friends with 'Barbara Feldon' (qv) during and after _"Get Smart" (1965)_ (qv).
- According to former _"Get Smart" (1965)_ (qv), co-star, 'Barbara Feldon' (qv), Adams had an amazing memory that allowed him to take an unusual approach to filming.
- Best remembered by the public for his starring role as "Maxwell Smart/Agent 86" on _"Get Smart" (1965)_ (qv).
- Claims he changed his last name from Yarmy to Adams because he was tired of having to go last at auditions, which, he said (inaccurately), usually went in alphabetical order. In reality, he took his stage name from his first wife, singer Adelaide Adams, with whom he shared a bill on the nightclub circuit.
- Had stopped performing in the postwar years and became a commercial artist because he had trouble finding stand-up work. In 1954, on a fluke, he auditioned and became a winner on 'Arthur Godfrey' (qv)'s _"Talent Scouts" (1948)_ (qv). This led to TV appearances with 'Steve Allen (I)' (qv) and 'Ed Sullivan (I)' (qv), among others, and stardom.
- Served in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II, and took part in the landings and battle at Guadalcanal, where he contracted malaria.