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.
- Was in a comedy team called The Young Brothers with 'Jay Lawrence (I)' (qv).
- 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.
- His two best known roles -- Maxwell Smart and Inspector Gadget -- were both James Bond parodies. _"Get Smart" (1965)_ (qv) parodied the secret agent stories, while Inspector Gadget featured the unseen villain The Claw, who is shown as an arm stroking his cat, an obvious reference to Bond villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld.
- 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.
- 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.
- Cousin of 'Robert Karvelas' (qv)
- 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.