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Don Adams RIP


MarcM
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LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- Don Adams, the wry-voiced comedian who starred as the fumbling secret agent Maxwell Smart in the 1960s TV spoof of James Bond movies, "Get Smart," has died. He was 82.

Adams died of a lung infection late Sunday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, his friend and former agent Bruce Tufeld said Monday, adding that the actor broke his hip a year ago and had been in ill health since.

As the inept Agent 86 of the super-secret federal agency CONTROL, Adams captured TV viewers with his antics in combatting the evil agents of KAOS. When his explanations failed to convince the villains or his boss, he tried another tack:

"Would you believe ... ?"

It became a national catchphrase.

Smart was also prone to spilling things on the desk or person of his boss -- the Chief (actor Edward Platt). Smart's apologetic "Sorry about that, chief" also entered the American lexicon.

The spy gadgets, which aped those of the Bond movies, were a popular feature, especially the pre-cell-phone telephone in a shoe.

Smart's beautiful partner, Agent 99, played by Barbara Feldon, was as brainy as he was dense, and a plot romance led to marriage and the birth of twins later in the series.

Adams, who had been under contract to NBC, was lukewarm about doing a spy spoof. When he learned that Mel Brooks and Buck Henry had written the pilot script, he accepted immediately.

"Get Smart" debuted on NBC in September 1965 and scored No. 12 among the season's most-watched series and No. 22 in its second season.

"Get Smart" twice won the Emmy for best comedy series with three Emmys for Adams as comedy actor.

CBS picked up the show but the ratings fell off as the jokes seemed repetitive, and it was canceled after four seasons. The show lived on in syndication and a cartoon series. In 1995 the Fox network revived the series with Smart as chief and 99 as a congresswoman. It lasted seven episodes.

Adams never had another showcase to display his comic talent.

"It was a special show that became a cult classic of sorts, and I made a lot of money for it," he remarked of "Get Smart" in a 1995 interview. "But it also hindered me career-wise because I was typed. The character was so strong, particularly because of that distinctive voice, that nobody could picture me in any other type of role."

He was born Donald James Yarmy in New York City on April 13, 1923, Tufeld said, although some sources say 1926 or '27. The actor's father was a Hungarian Jew who ran a few small restaurants in the Bronx.

In a 1959 interview Adams said he never cared about being funny as a kid: "Sometimes I wonder how I got into comedy at all. I did movie star impressions as a kid in high school. Somehow they just got out of hand."

In 1941, he dropped out of school to join the Marines. In Guadalcanal he survived the deadly blackwater fever and was returned to the States to become a drill instructor, acquiring the clipped delivery that served him well as a comedian.

After the war he worked in New York as a commercial artist by day, doing standup comedy in clubs at night, taking the surname of his first wife, Adelaide Adams. His following grew, and soon he was appearing on the Ed Sullivan and late-night TV shows. Bill Dana, who had helped him develop comedy routines, cast him as his sidekick on Dana's show. That led to the NBC contract and "Get Smart."

Adams, who married and divorced three times and had seven children, served as the voice for the popular cartoon series, "Inspector Gadget," as well as cartoon character Tennessee Tuxedo. In 1980, he appeared as Maxwell Smart in a feature movie, "The Nude Bomb," about a madman whose bomb destroyed people's clothing.

Tufeld said funeral arrangements were incomplete.

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How sad...I loved "Get Smart". Here are some great quotes from the show.

Chief: Max, I don't know what I'm going to do about you. You bungle assignment after assignment.

Maxwell Smart: I resent that, Chief.

Chief: Do you deny it?

Maxwell Smart: No, but I resent it.

Senator: Mr. Smart, how many arrests did Control make last year?

Maxwell Smart: I don't know.

Senator: Who's the number one man in your organization?

Maxwell Smart: I don't know.

Senator: How many cases were assigned to Control last year?

Maxwell Smart: I don't know.

Senator: What would you do if you were fired, Mr. Smart?

Maxwell Smart: They can't fire me. I know too much.

KAOS Agent: Look, I'm a sportsman. I'll let you choose the way you want to die.

Maxwell Smart: All right, how about old age?

Chief: Max, this will undoubtedly be the most dangerous mission you've ever gone on. You probably won't get back alive.

Maxwell Smart: If you're trying to scare me, Chief, you're wasting your time. I don't know the meaning of the word fear.

Chief: You'll parachute from six thousand feet.

Maxwell Smart: I think I just learned it.

And on a semi-related note, I always thought the song "99" by Toto was about Agent 99 on "Get Smart". Apparently I was wrong.

RIP, Don. :bow:

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Peaches, those were hilarious. I loved that show as a kid. I don't know if Mel Brooks or Buck Henry continued as writers, but that stuff sounded like pure Brooks.

I have an odd memory of Get Smart from my childhood. One day I had a terrible earache. It hurt to move my mouth or head. Well, a new episode of Get Smart was on TV that night and I insisted on watching it. The way my parents house was set up, you had a view of the living room TV from their room. Anyway, I got in their bed and watched the show. I was alternately cracking up, then wincing in pain for the earache. I tortured myself with the pain from laughing.

I fell asleep on their bed and woke up minus an earache. Weird memory.

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Mel Brooks kept on writing the plots, but each episode had different authors (they were many, Don Adams among them).

I couldn´t wait to get home from school on Thursdays to watch my favourite show... :PHere you can find about who wrote which episode.

Edited by Guest
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I've always heard that Don Adams was brilliant, and never really got the credit he deserved. :crazy:

Actually, he couldn´t do many characters after being Maxwell Smart. I think he did something on TV and also appeared on "Love Boat", he also was the voice of Inspector Clouzeau (spelling???)

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