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Don Adams has died (Get Smart)
Alt Obits | 9/25/05

Posted on 09/26/2005 11:12:18 AM PDT by Borges

Don Adams, who gained worldwide fame and three Emmy Awards starring as Agent 86, Maxwell Smart, in the classic television comedy GET SMART, died at 8:02 p.m PDT, Sunday, September 25, 2005, at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Beverly Hills. He was 82. Although he had been in failing health for more than two years due to bone lymphoma, his death resulted from a sudden lung infection for which he was hospitalized the previous day.

Born Donald James Yarmy on April 13, 1923 [correct, despite frequently reported erroneous dates] in New York City to Irish-Hungarian parents, Adams hoped for an engineering career. He joined the U.S. Marines in the early days of World War II and served as a drill instructor. 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.

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, which he won. This led to scores of appearances on comedy and variety series such as THE STEVE ALLEN SHOW and Ed Sullivan's THE TOAST OF THE TOWN, and ultimately to a regular job on THE PERRY COMO SHOW. 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, 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 Mel Brooks's and Buck Henry's spy spoof GET SMART. 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 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, 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'S SCREEN TEST (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 voice of the animated TENNESSE TUXEDO, and later was even more popular in his title role as INSPECTOR GADGET.

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, which he hated. He also brought the character briefly back to television in the 1989 TV movie GET SMART, AGAIN!

In 1985, he returned to series television in a Canadian sitcom, CHECK IT OUT, 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 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 for the revived ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS 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 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 feature film starring Matthew Broderick as Gadget.

Like his brother, the late comedian 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 and had at one time considered a career as an artist.

His health declined in recent years with the onset of lymphoma, but took a precipitous turn for the worse following the death last year of his daughter, actress-casting director Cecily Adams. In recent weeks he had declined to continue medications or treatment for his ailments. Following his emergency hospitalization on September 24, he was unable to breathe on his own. As per his instructions, life-support systems were turned off Sunday night. Two of his former wives and three of his children, as well as other family members, were with him when he died.

Adams is survived by six of his seven children: Daughters Carolyn Steele (of Pahoa, Hawaii), Christine Adams (of Elkridge, Maryland), Cathy Metchik (of Henderson, Nevada), [Paramount TV executive] Stacey Adams, and Beige Adams, and son Sean Adams (all of Los Angeles); by five of his seven grandchildren (another is expected in November); and by three great-grandchildren.

There will be a private memorial service. Burial will be with Marine Corps honors at an undetermined location.

Memorial donations may be made to the Motion Picture & Television Fund, MPTF Foundation, 22212 Ventura Boulevard, Suite 300, Woodland Hills CA 91364.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; US: California
KEYWORDS: adams; agent86; agent99; donadams; feldon; hollywood; marines; max; maxwellsmart; obits; obituaries; obituary; shoephone; smart; usmc; worldwarii; wwii
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This was posted on Alt Obits by a family member.
1 posted on 09/26/2005 11:12:19 AM PDT by Borges
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To: Borges

Rest in peace, Don.

Funny guy.


2 posted on 09/26/2005 11:13:20 AM PDT by martin_fierro (|\/|4R71|\|_P|-|13RR0)
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To: martin_fierro

The Cone of Silence is silent...


3 posted on 09/26/2005 11:14:09 AM PDT by BurbankKarl
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Comment #4 Removed by Moderator

To: Borges

"Missed it by that much."


5 posted on 09/26/2005 11:14:15 AM PDT by freedomson (Tagline comment removed by moderator)
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To: Borges
"Missed it by that much..."
6 posted on 09/26/2005 11:14:32 AM PDT by dead (I've got my eye out for Mullah Omar.)
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To: Borges

Rest in Peace, Don!

7 posted on 09/26/2005 11:14:45 AM PDT by balrog666 (A myth by any other name is still inane.)
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To: Borges

RIP, Don.

I always liked him, but until now had no idea the guy was a DI and war hero.


8 posted on 09/26/2005 11:14:57 AM PDT by Skooz ("Political Correctness is the handmaiden of terrorism" - Michelle Malkin)
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To: Borges
He joined the U.S. Marines in the early days of World War II and served as a drill instructor.

Don Adams as a DI. Who woulda thunkit.

9 posted on 09/26/2005 11:15:07 AM PDT by Izzy Dunne (Hello, I'm a TAGLINE virus. Please help me spread by copying me into YOUR tag line.)
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To: Borges

Ah, sad news. We enjoyed watching his show when it was popular.


10 posted on 09/26/2005 11:15:15 AM PDT by nmh (Intelligent people recognize Intelligent Design (God).)
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To: Borges
Sorry about that, Chief!

Rest in Peace.

11 posted on 09/26/2005 11:15:16 AM PDT by SmithL (There are a lot of people that hate Bush more than they hate terrorists)
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To: Borges

:-(


12 posted on 09/26/2005 11:15:18 AM PDT by kellynch (I am excessively diverted ~~Jane Austen)
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To: Borges

Oh, my. RIP 86.

Can we finally get this out on DVD so we can properly pay our respects?!


13 posted on 09/26/2005 11:15:21 AM PDT by pa mom
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To: Borges

First Gilligan, now this.


14 posted on 09/26/2005 11:15:31 AM PDT by Piranha
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To: Borges
I remember in the 60's we were quoting him constantly. I wonder how many of his expressions became common language?

One of the really great ones.

15 posted on 09/26/2005 11:15:52 AM PDT by yarddog
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To: freedomson
"Missed it by that much."

Bah! You beat me by that much.

16 posted on 09/26/2005 11:16:02 AM PDT by highlander_UW (I don't know what my future holds, but I know Who holds my future)
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To: Borges

A funny character, much enjoyed in our house. Prayers for his family.


17 posted on 09/26/2005 11:16:15 AM PDT by Cboldt
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To: Borges

18 posted on 09/26/2005 11:16:39 AM PDT by wallcrawlr (http://www.bionicear.com)
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To: Borges

Rest In Peace Don.
19 posted on 09/26/2005 11:17:29 AM PDT by TheForceOfOne (It was a village of idiots that raised Hillary to Senator status.)
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To: Borges

Missed it by that much!


20 posted on 09/26/2005 11:17:33 AM PDT by Tennessee_Bob ("Nac Mac Feegle! The Wee Free Men! Nae king! Nae quin! Nae laird! We willna be fooled again!")
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To: Cboldt

Would you believe...


21 posted on 09/26/2005 11:17:35 AM PDT by GraniteStateConservative (...He had committed no crime against America so I did not bring him here...-- Worst.President.Ever.)
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To: Borges
He joined the U.S. Marines in the early days of World War II and served as a drill instructor.
He saw combat in the invasion of Guadalcanal and was the only survivor of his platoon.

Amazing! I had no idea.

RIP, Marine.

22 posted on 09/26/2005 11:18:00 AM PDT by Constitution Day
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To: Borges
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.

From that to one of the funniest men in the world...God works in mysterious ways.

23 posted on 09/26/2005 11:18:02 AM PDT by 2banana (My common ground with terrorists - They want to die for Islam, and we want to kill them.)
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To: Borges

Oh no Chief! Would you believe Agent 86 has passed away? Gotta check with Larrabee.... No more need for the Cone of Silence! I loved that show as a kid. Rest in Peace Maxwell Smart.


24 posted on 09/26/2005 11:18:53 AM PDT by Rummyfan
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To: Peanut Gallery; Darksheare; Corin Stormhands; Valin; alfa6; Iris7; bentfeather; snippy_about_it; ...

To the Shoe Phone ping.


25 posted on 09/26/2005 11:19:01 AM PDT by Professional Engineer (Now where the heck is my pocket protector?)
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To: Borges

"Go, go, Gadget Copter!"

RIP, Don Adams.

26 posted on 09/26/2005 11:19:12 AM PDT by Republican Wildcat
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To: Borges

27 posted on 09/26/2005 11:19:16 AM PDT by Extremely Extreme Extremist
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To: Borges

Don Adams, a marine DI. Hard to imagine. Semper Fi, RIP.


28 posted on 09/26/2005 11:19:55 AM PDT by ladtx ( "Remember your regiment and follow your officers." Captain Charles May, 2d Dragoons, 9 May 1846)
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To: All

29 posted on 09/26/2005 11:20:23 AM PDT by GraniteStateConservative (...He had committed no crime against America so I did not bring him here...-- Worst.President.Ever.)
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To: Borges

Get Smart was a very funny show. Gonna miss him.


30 posted on 09/26/2005 11:20:46 AM PDT by tob2 (Old Fossil and Proud of It!)
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To: Borges

So sad. "Get Smart" was one of the first "adult" shows I was allowed to watch with Mom and Dad. I remember thinking I was so grown up because I was watching a spy show. Little did I know it was all a spoof. Thought Agent 99 was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen and wanted to be just like her.


31 posted on 09/26/2005 11:21:04 AM PDT by pettifogger (Don't worry, I'm female.)
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To: Borges

32 posted on 09/26/2005 11:21:25 AM PDT by PBRSTREETGANG
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To: wallcrawlr

Great American...had a wonderful life and it appears he was not a selfish man, sacrificed his time and youth for his country. His family should be proud. RIP Maxwell!


33 posted on 09/26/2005 11:22:06 AM PDT by antivenom (If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much damn space!)
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Ahh 99, I ask you not to tell me that.


34 posted on 09/26/2005 11:22:07 AM PDT by carl in alaska (Blog blog bloggin' on heaven's door.....Kerry's speeches are just one big snore.)
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To: Piranha

First Gilligan, now Max,....I never knew he was a Guadalcanal vet,..just think,..one up on Lee Marvin from Tarawa,..and a DI to boot.


35 posted on 09/26/2005 11:22:30 AM PDT by Cvengr (<;^))
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To: Borges
Rest in Peace



36 posted on 09/26/2005 11:22:42 AM PDT by tiredoflaundry (Tampa Bay, Home of the Stanley Cup Champions The Tampa Bay Lightning!)
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To: All
Image hosted by Photobucket.com
37 posted on 09/26/2005 11:23:43 AM PDT by GraniteStateConservative (...He had committed no crime against America so I did not bring him here...-- Worst.President.Ever.)
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To: Professional Engineer

Ouch.

Rest in Peace Don.


38 posted on 09/26/2005 11:23:43 AM PDT by Darksheare (There is a Possum in the works.)
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To: 2banana

I remember a Gunny at Quantico who knew him a little from WW II..He said he used to do a routine about WHY he had to join the Marines...he said no way a guy named Yarmy was gonna every join the Army...but his DIs in the Corps gave him lots of grief for hi name when he first went to basic..BTW Barbara Feldon was HOT..she was in shaving cream commericials IIRC..great sexy sultry voice..


39 posted on 09/26/2005 11:23:53 AM PDT by ken5050 (Ann Coulter needs to have children ASAP to pass on her gene pool....any volunteers?)
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To: yarddog; aculeus; general_re; hellinahandcart; MississippiDeltaDawg; Coop
I remember in the 60's we were quoting him constantly. I wonder how many of his expressions became common language?

Would you believe, millions?

Rest in peace.

40 posted on 09/26/2005 11:24:49 AM PDT by dighton
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To: Constitution Day
The oo-l-l-l-d dying trick, eh?

RIP, Don.

41 posted on 09/26/2005 11:24:52 AM PDT by TheBigB (I will punch the next person who confuses "you're" and "your". Seriously. Don't test me.)
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To: Izzy Dunne

"He saw combat in the invasion of Guadalcanal and was the only survivor of his platoon."

Very funny guy who I loved watching when I was a kid.

Like so many of his generation, I never would have guessed the things they did to give us our freedom. They were just quiet and unassuming.

RIP


42 posted on 09/26/2005 11:24:57 AM PDT by lowbuck (The Blue Card (US Passport). . . Don't leave home without it!)
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To: Borges

Semper Fi, 86.


43 posted on 09/26/2005 11:25:03 AM PDT by quark
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To: Borges

I expected him to live for another four years. The Cone of Silence has permenantly descended.


44 posted on 09/26/2005 11:25:36 AM PDT by Jemian (Don't be stuck on stupid.)
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To: Borges

One of the best shows of the 1960's. RIP, 86.


45 posted on 09/26/2005 11:26:15 AM PDT by Hildy
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To: Borges

Rest in peace, to one of my all-time favorite performers. Don't know if younger people remember how incredibly popular he was. When I was a kid, I had a "Sorry About That, Chief" T-shirt that was my prized possession.


46 posted on 09/26/2005 11:26:21 AM PDT by HHFi
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To: Borges

Funny, funny man. RIP.


47 posted on 09/26/2005 11:26:26 AM PDT by Leg Olam ("There is no Hell. There is only France." F. Zappa)
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To: Borges
Agent 99: Oh, Max, what happened?

Max: Would you believe a renegade band of Tyrolean ski troopers?

48 posted on 09/26/2005 11:26:43 AM PDT by Cruising Speed
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To: PBRSTREETGANG; GraniteStateConservative

"Right you are, Chumley!"


49 posted on 09/26/2005 11:27:26 AM PDT by Charles Henrickson ("Duh, gee, Tennessee. . . .")
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To: tob2; All
Get Smart was a very funny show. Gonna miss him.

BUY THE GET SMART DVD COLLECTION

50 posted on 09/26/2005 11:28:01 AM PDT by Extremely Extreme Extremist
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