Don Adams

Donald James Yarmy, professionally known as Don Adams, was an American actor, comedian, and director.   Born on, April 13, 1923, in Manhattan, New York.  He dropped out of DeWitt Clinton High School and worked as a theater usher.

During World War II, he joined the Marine Corps and participated in the Battle of Guadalcanal, when his service ended from being shot in combat and contracting blackwater fever, a serious complication of malaria.  He was evacuated and hospitalized for more than a year at a Navy hospital in Wellington, New Zealand.  After his recovery, he served as a drill instructor.

After his service, he began a career as a stand-up comic, taking the stage name of Adams after marrying singer Adelaide (Dell) Efantis, who performed as Adelaide Adams. They had four daughters, and Adams also worked as a commercial artist and restaurant cashier to help support his family.  When they divorced, he kept Adams as his stage name because acting auditions were often held in alphabetical order.

His television career began when he won the Ted Mack & the Original Amateur Hour (1948) talent contest.  His most famous role, being secret agent Maxwell Smart (Agent 86) in the classic sitcom/spy spoof Get Smart (1965), which he also sometimes directed and wrote.  In the late 1950s, he made eleven appearances on The Steve Allen Show where Dana was part of the writing team. During the 1961-63 television seasons, he was a regular on NBC’s The Perry Como Show as part of The Kraft Music Hall Players.  He had a role on the NBC sitcom The Bill Dana Show (1963–65) as a bumbling hotel detective named Byron Glick.  Adams won three consecutive Emmys for his portrayal of Smart (1967–69).  He also provided the voices for the animated series Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales (1963–66) and Inspector Gadget (1983–85, as well as several revivals and spinoffs in the 1990s).

Adams died on September 25, 2005, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California.  He suffered from lymphoma and a lung infection.

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