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
Himself - Guest
Himself - Team Captain
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.
- 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.
- Won three Emmys for bumbling secret agent Maxwell Smart in _"Get Smart" (1965)_ (qv) and the show itself won two awards for "Best Comedy," but he was severely typecast after this and never did find another proper showcase to display his comic range.
- 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.
- Remained good friends with 'Barbara Feldon' (qv) during and after _"Get Smart" (1965)_ (qv).
- 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.
- 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.
- When the pilot of _"Get Smart" (1965)_ (qv) was shooting for CBS, the producers wanted 'Tom Poston' (qv) for the role of Maxwell Smart, but when they sold it to NBC, Adams was already under contract with the network, hence, he was immediately cast in the role.
- Biography in: "Who's Who in Comedy" by Ronald L. Smith; pg. 4-5. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387