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.
- As the inept Agent 86 on _"Get Smart" (1965)_ (qv) Adams used to have a script assistant read his part to him once or twice just before a scene, instead of learning his lines.
- Remained good friends with 'Barbara Feldon' (qv) during and after _"Get Smart" (1965)_ (qv).
- 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.
- Uninterested in doing the James Bond spoof _"Get Smart" (1965)_ (qv) series at first, he got on board after learning that 'Mel Brooks' (qv) and 'Buck Henry' (qv) were involved with the pilot script. 'Tom Poston' (qv) was the first name being considered for the role, but Adams, under contract to NBC at the time, was promoted for the job by the network.
- 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.
- One of the first (if not the first) stand up comedian to have his own sitcom.
- Father-in-law of 'Jim Beaver (I)' (qv).
- His TV writing partner in 1954 was comedian 'Bill Dana' (qv). Dana used Adams on his own TV show, _"The Bill Dana Show" (1963)_ (qv) from 1963 to 1965, by incorporating one of Adams' stand-up characters, inept house detective Byron Glick.