Donald James Yarmy was born on 13th April 1923 in New York City USA, and as Don Adams was an award-winning television and voice actor, comedian, and game show host. His acting career started in 1963, with a guest role in television series “The Bill Dana Show”. He passed away in 2005.
Have you ever wondered how rich Don Adams was at the time of his death? According to authoritative sources, it has been estimated that Adams’s net worth was as high as $15 million, an amount earned through his successful career in acting, hosting, and comedy.
Don Adams Net Worth $15 Million
Don Adams was one of three children of William and Consuelo Yarmy (nee Deiter); Don was raised in his mother’s Roman Catholic religion, while his brother Richard was raised according to their father’s Jewish religion. A high school drop-out, Don supported himself by working as an usher in a theatre, before serving in World War II, first in combat as a member of the US Marine Corps.
However, he contracted blackwater fever due to a combat wound, which forced him to spend an entire year recovering at a Navy hospital in New Zealand. Afterward, he served as a Marine drill instructor back home.
Having decided to try himself out in comedic waters, Don took on the stage name Adams, which was also the name under which his first wife Adelaide (Efantis) performed. His career as a comedian started in 1954, with his win on the talent show “Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts”. After that, he appeared in “The Steve Allen Show” (1956-1960) in eleven episodes, and then became a regular on “The Perry Como Show” (1960-1963).
Following this, Don branched out into acting waters, as an inept detective in the sitcom “The Bill Dana Show” (1963-1965). This would contribute to his type-casting, resulting eventually in his iconic role, that of the iconic bumbling detective Maxwell Smart, Agent 86 in the comedy spoof series “Get Smart” (1965-1970). The show made fun of the popular spy film and television series of that time, such as the James Bond movies and the TV show “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” (1964-1968). Don took home three Emmy Awards for this role, and introduced numerous catchphrases into American vernacular.
Unfortunately, his ensuing projects never reached the level of fame and success that the role of Smart brought to him. He appeared in numerous television series and films, both as a guest and as a star, but his most notable subsequent part was achieved in voice acting, when he lent his voice to the eponymous detective in the animated series “Inspector Gadget” (1983-1985). He also hosted his own game show, entitled “Don Adams’ Screen Test” (1975-1976). While he continued to act at that time, most of Don’s income was earned by his work on stage and in nightclubs.
Regarding his personal life, he was thrice married and divorced, with seven children from those marriages. He firstly married Adelaide (1947-60), then Dorothy Bracken (1960-76) and thirdly Judy Luciano from 1977 to 1990. His health declined after his daughter, Cecily Adams, who was also an actress, died of lung cancer in 2004. Following a lung infection, he succumbed to bone lymphoma on 25th September 2005.
Don enjoyed painting and writing poetry, though these hobbies took second seat to his greatest passion in life, gambling. He was also a history buff, with particular interest in the lives of Abraham Lincoln and Adolf Hitler.
Don Adamson Wiki
Date Of Birth
April 13, 1923
September 25, 2005, Los Angeles, California, United States
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, TV Land Greatest Gadgets Award
Les Humphries Singers
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series, Golden Globe Award for Best TV Star – Male, Gemini Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Continuing Leading Comedic Role
Inspector Gadget, Get Smart, Again!, Back to the Beach, Jimmy the Kid, The Nude Bomb, Gadget Boy and Heather: Along Came a Spydra
The Bill Dana Show, Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales, Underdog, Get Smart, The Partners, Don Adams’ Screen Test, Inspector Gadget, Gadget Boy & Heather, Pepper Ann, Check It Out!, Gadget Boy’s Adventures in History
His clipped, nasally voice.
His “Maxwell Smart” catchphrases “Would you believe…?”, “Sorry About that, Chief.”, “And…loving it.” and “Missed it by THAT much.”
Inspector Gadget (1983)
Get Smart (1965)
$4,000 /week + %
[on Get Smart (1995) and Andy Dick] I knew it wouldn’t work but they offered me a lot of money. I knew after the pilot that this kid couldn’t carry the show.
I watched Seinfeld (1989) and didn’t know what the show was about. It was about nothing!
[on Jim Carrey] I’m not turned on by a comedian who bends over, spreads his cheeks and speaks out of his rear end.
[on his trademark clipped voice] It was Bill (Bill Dana) who was primarily responsible for me using that voice. Right from the beginning, he said, ‘You should do all your routines in that voice.’ And I said, ‘But I can’t stand that voice.’ And he said, ‘But it’s funny. It makes people laugh.’ And I’m, like, ‘But I hate it…’ For whatever reason, the delivery or whatever it is, that voice makes any situation funnier.
I like getting married, but I don’t like being married.
I’m no longer independently wealthy. I guess it’s the result of too many wives, too many kids and too much alimony. I’ve been paying alimony since I was 14 and child support since 15. That’s a joke, but not by much.
[on Get Smart (1965)] The first few episodes I saw angered me so much I felt like throwing the TV through a window. I couldn’t stand the laugh track… I didn’t think so when I was making them, but some of those episodes are funny, funny shows. Some are classics. I actually laugh out loud at them now.
I hate performing. I don’t care about being thought funny; I never did. 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 restaurants, [people] send over shoes. I’m so tired of it. I keep getting shoes.
[interview with Robert DeRossi, 10/27/65] I don’t want to change the thinking of the world. My purpose is to make people laugh . . . It would be hypocritical if I said I don’t want recognition, but I’ve never wanted it terribly. I think I’m being honest when I say I’d rather turn my talents, whatever they are, to writing and directing.
Adams went beyond the pilot show of Get Smart (1965), therefore, he went to the producers, and they asked Adams to look over the script, which he did mind looking at it, at the time. After the producers wrote the first episode, the producers both realized they didn’t have anything to do with Adams; but, Henry knew Adams’s Smart character was born.
Remained good friends with Barbara Feldon during and after Get Smart (1965).
He was known to not be a morning person.
Dropped out from DeWitt Clinton High School in 1941 (which was his senior year).
Before he was a comedian/actor, he worked as a theater usher.
When the pilot of Get Smart (1965) was shooting for CBS, the producers wanted Tom Poston for the role of Maxwell Smart, but when they sold it to NBC, Adams was already under contract with the network, hence, he was immediately cast in the role.
Daughter Cecily Adams died in 2004, and son Sean Adams died in 2006.
Was very good friends with: Danny Thomas, Gavin MacLeod, Bernie Kopell, Dick Van Patten, Doris Roberts, Jonathan Harris, Don Rickles, Barbara Feldon, Edward Platt, Mel Brooks, Buck Henry, Bill Dana, Gordon Jump, Richard Gautier, Dinah Shore, Merv Griffin, Johnny Carson, Bob Hope, Dean Martin, Aaron Spelling, William Schallert, James Caan and Hugh M. Hefner.
According to former Get Smart (1965), co-star, Barbara Feldon, Adams had an amazing memory that allowed him to take an unusual approach to filming.
Was only 2 inches shorter than ex-Get Smart (1965) co-star, Barbara Feldon. In order for make it appear that Adams was taller than her, he’d either stand on a small platform or Feldon would stoop down.
Was in a comedy team called The Young Brothers with Jay Lawrence.
Best remembered by the public for his starring role as “Maxwell Smart/Agent 86” on Get Smart (1965).
One of his duties while serving in the Marine Corps was a drill instructor.
His two best known roles — Maxwell Smart and Inspector Gadget — were both James Bond parodies. Get Smart (1965) 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.
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.
In 1984, played as himself in Miller Lite Beer commercials, poking fun at his Maxwell Smart fame.
He died of a lung infection while undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA. Adams had also a bone lymphoma as a result of breaking a hip more than a year before his death. He was buried at Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood, Los Angeles.
Did not like the (badly timed) laugh track in Get Smart (1965).
One of the first (if not the first) stand up comedian to have his own sitcom.
Won three Emmys for bumbling secret agent Maxwell Smart in Get Smart (1965) 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.
Uninterested in doing the James Bond spoof Get Smart (1965) series at first, he got on board after learning that Mel Brooks and Buck Henry were involved with the pilot script. Tom Poston was the first name being considered for the role, but Adams, under contract to NBC at the time, was promoted for the job by the network.
As the inept Agent 86 on Get Smart (1965) Adams used to have a script assistant read his part to him once or twice just before a scene, instead of learning his lines.
His clipped Maxwell Smart voice came from a much exaggerated takeoff on William Powell’s “The Thin Man.” He used to get laughs using the exact same voice years earlier on the stand-up circuit in different character set pieces – a baseball umpire, a football coach, a defense attorney.
Instead of taking a large paycheck per episode ($12,500 per week) of Get Smart (1965), Adams decided to take a smaller salary and 33% share. It paid off in spades–the show has been running in syndication for decades.
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’s Talent Scouts (1948). This led to TV appearances with Steve Allen and Ed Sullivan, among others, and stardom.
His TV writing partner in 1954 was comedian Bill Dana. Dana used Adams on his own TV show, The Bill Dana Show (1963) from 1963 to 1965, by incorporating one of Adams’ stand-up characters, inept house detective Byron Glick.
His father was of Hungarian Jewish descent. His mother had German and Irish ancestry.
Was a close friend of “Playboy” publisher Hugh M. Hefner, and spent one night each week with Hefner (and other friends) playing cards.
Served in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II, and took part in the landings and battle at Guadalcanal, where he contracted malaria.
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.
Father-in-law of Jim Beaver.
He had a daughter, Cecily Adams, with his first wife, Adelaide. He also had a daughter, Stacey Adams and his only son Sean Adams, with his second wife, Dorothy. His other daughters are Carolyn, Chris, Cathy and Beige.
Biography in: “Who’s Who in Comedy” by Ronald L. Smith; pg. 4-5. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387
In 1999 he started to play Maxwell Smart once again, this time in a successful series of Canadian TV commercials for the “Buck-a-Call” long-distance service.
He was an older brother of Dick Yarmy, cousin of Robert Karvelas and brother-in-law of Alice Borden.
$15 Million 1.75 m 1923 1923-04-13 2005 2005-09-25 Actor Adelaide Efantis Adelaide Efantis Adams m. 1947–1960 April 13 Beige Adams California Caroline Adams Catherine Adams Cecily Adams Christine Adams Consuelo Morgan DeWitt Clinton High School Dick Yarmy Don Adams Net Worth Don Adamson Dorothy Bracken m. 1960–1976 Gloria Burton Judy Luciano m. 1977–1990 Los Angeles M Manhattan New York New York City producer Sean Adams September 25 Stacey Adams U.S. United States William Yarmy