Comic-actor starred in 1960s spy-spoof series
Don Adams, the Emmy Award-winning comic-actor who played bumbling secret agent Maxwell Smart on the hit 1960s spy-spoof series "Get Smart," has died. He was 82.
Adams, who honed his comedy skills as a post-World War II stand-up comic and impressionist, died of a lung infection Sunday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, his agent, Bruce Tufeld, said Monday. He said the actor had been in ill health since breaking a hip more than a year ago.
It was the height of the Cold War and the James Bond spy craze when "Get Smart" debuted on NBC in 1965 with Adams as Maxwell Smart, Agent 86 for CONTROL, a Washington-based counterintelligence agency.
It was the job of Smart and beautiful Agent 99 (co-star Barbara Feldon) to destroy KAOS, an international organization of evil. Edward Platt, who died in 1974, played their long-suffering boss, known simply as "Chief."
The clever and satirical sitcom, created by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry, was filled with sight gags (one character, Agent 13, hid in mailboxes, water fountains and clocks), and ingenious gimmicks (Smart famously phoned headquarters with a dial phone implanted in the sole of his shoe).
Playing the vain but inept secret agent, Adams used the nasal voice and clipped delivery that he had perfected as a stand-up comic years before - a grossly exaggerated takeoff of William Powell, who portrayed the sophisticated private detective Nick Charles in "The Thin Man" movie series.
Adams also provided the voice for the syndicated "Inspector Gadget" cartoon series (1983-84).