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Remembering Don Adams

(Posted September 28, 2005 by Leah Yoakum)

Don Adams, another TV icon from yesteryear, died on Sunday of a lung infection at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was 82-years old. Forever identified as bumbling Maxwell Smart (a.k.a. Agent 86) on 1965-70 comedy Get Smart, and as a number of classic cartoon voices including Tennessee Tuxedo and Inspector Gadget, the three-time Emmy winning actor/comedian encompassed a multitude of roles, both comedy and drama, in a career that spanned six decades.

Blessed with the gift of mimicry, and looking for his niche after serving in World War II, Adams was first noticed after auditioning for Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts. That led to a nightclub act, appearances on Broadway, and an array of early TV guest appearances including The Steve Allen Show, The Rosemary Clooney Show, The Dinah Shore Chevy Show, Toast of the Town, The Merv Griffin Show and Hullabaloo. His first regularly scheduled series was as an improvisational player on The Perry Como Show from 1961 to 1963. In 1963, he exited the Como variety series for sitcom, The Bill Dana Show. Although that series only lasted two seasons, playing not-too-bright hotel detective Byron Glick was the blueprint for Maxwell Smart, and his introducti! on to true TV stardom. Four decades later, and his presence is alive and well with catch phrases like Would you believe?... and Sorry about that, chief.

While success of the same magnitude never came calling after Get Smart, Adams kept busy on-camera or as a cartoon character voice. Aside from prerequisite appearances on The Love Boat and Fantasy Island, post Get Smart spots included The Flip Wilson Show, The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour, The Fall Guy and Empty Nest. He also headlined short-lived sitcoms The Partners from 1971-72, Check It Out from 1985-88, and a remake of Get Smart on Fox in 1995, and was the host of syndicated reality weekly Don Adams Screen Test in 1974-75. Adams and co-star Barbara Feldon also reunited as Maxwell Smart and Agent 99 in theatrical The Nude Bomb in 1980, and TV made-for Get Smart, Again in 1989.

Like Bob Gilligan Denver, who passed away early in the month, the genius behind Don Adams was recognizing the importance of embracing a classic TV character, and never shying away from its value.

-- Marc Berman

Source: Yahoo! News

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