Don Adams Net Worth at Death – Salary, Income, Wives

Don Adams Net Worth

Don Adams had an estimated net worth of $18 million at death. Donald James Yarmy, stage name Don Adams, was an American actor, comedian, and television director, best known for his role as Maxwell Smart in the series Super Agent 86 during the five decades of his television career, for which he received three Emmy Awards. He earned most of his income from his roles in television shows and movies. 

In his younger years, Don Adams served in the United States Marine Corps. Later he did various odd jobs and made his television debut as a stand-up comedian on a friend’s talent show. This was the beginning of his career in vaudeville TV and he stayed in this role for several years and became a regular in many shows.

At the same time, he also started dubbing cartoon characters. His comedic talent attracted attention and he got the main role in “Get Smart”. His character’s antics and gags were loved by the audience and earned him three “Emmy Awards”. But he became typecast in this role and had a hard time getting other roles. So he shifted to directing commercials and working as a voice actor, where he was successful. He also did stage comedy and radio commercials.

Before his death from lymphoma, he resurrected his role in “Get Smart” a few more times.

To calculate the net worth of Don Adams, subtract all his liabilities from his total assets. Investments, savings, cash deposits, and any equity he has in a house, car, or other similar asset are included in the total assets.

All debts, such as personal loans and mortgages, are included in total liabilities. 

Here’s the breakdown of his net worth:

Name: Don Adams
Net Worth: $18 Million
Salary Per Episode $200 Thousand
Annual Income: $4 Million
Source of Wealth: Comedian, Actor, Voice Actor, Television Director, Screenwriter, Television producer, Film Editor, Film director

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Early Life

Donald Adams was born on April 13, 1923, as Donald James Yarmy in Manhattan, New York, USA, to William Yarmy and Consuelo. He also had an actor brother, Richard, and a sister, Gloria (who was a writer).

He went to ‘DeWitt Clinton High School’ in New York before dropping out and working as a theatre usher.

He wanted to be an engineer, but because World War II had already begun, he had to join the ‘United States Marine Corps’ instead.


He fought in the Battle of Guadalcanal in 1942, but contracted the potentially fatal Blackwater Fever. He was hospitalized in New Zealand for over a year before being reassigned to the Corps as a drill instructor.

After returning to civil life in 1945, he began working as a stand-up comic and even married singer Adelaide Adams. He took her surname in order to be among the first few candidates called for alphabetical auditions.

He supported his family by working as a cashier and as a commercial artist.

He got his big break on television in 1954, thanks to his childhood friend Bill Dana, when he was named the winner of ‘Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts.’ This helped him land a guest spot on ‘The Tonight Show.’

Throughout the late 1950s, he found success in the variety TV genre and appeared on ‘The Steve Allen Show’ several times.

From 1961 to 1963, he was a regular on ‘The Perry Como Show.’

From 1963 to 1965, he played ‘Byron Glick,’ a bumbling detective on the sitcom ‘The Bill Dana Show.’ At the same time, he dabbled in voiceover work as the titular character in the animated series ‘Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales.’

In 1965, he landed his breakthrough role as the inept special agent ‘Maxwell Smart’ of a fictional counter-intelligence agency in the sitcom ‘Get Smart.’ During the Cold War, audiences related to it and enjoyed his ridiculous gags, contraptions, and disguises, earning him and the series several awards.

Between 1967 and 1970, he appeared in, produced, and directed several episodes of ‘Get Smart.’

After the conclusion of ‘Get Smart,’ he was typecast as the ‘Maxwell Smart’ character and found it difficult to land other types of roles.

He directed and co-starred in the comedy series ‘The Partners’ in 1971, but it only lasted twenty episodes. That same year, he appeared in the television film ‘Confessions of a Top Crime Buster.’

Following that, he directed television commercials, which he was very successful at. He won a ‘Clio Award’ for direction for his 1970s commercial for ‘Aurora Skittle Pool.’

He appeared as a celebrity guest in an episode of ‘The New Scooby-Doo Movies’ created by the legendary animation duo Hanna-Barbera in the early 1970s.

He returned to mainstream television in 1975, hosting his own show ‘Don Adams’ Screen Test,’ but it was cancelled after one season.

From 1976 to 1979, he appeared in television films such as ‘Three Times Daley’ and ‘The Love Boat,’ as well as television series such as ‘The Fantastic Journey’ and ‘Fantasy Island.’

He appeared in the big-screen film ‘The Nude Bomb’ in 1980, but it was a flop. That same year, he narrated the television film ‘Murder Can Hurt You!’

In 1982, he reprised his ‘Maxwell Smart’ character in a series of television commercials for the retail chain ‘Savemart.’ During that time, he also did radio commercials for ‘Chief Auto Parts.’

From 1983 to 1985, he played the eponymous character in the TV show ‘Inspector Gadget,’ which became his most memorable voiceover work.

From 1985 to 1988, he starred in the Canadian comedy series ‘Check It Out!’ as the store manager dealing with bumbling employees.

In 1989, he reprised his role as ‘Maxwell Smart’ in the television film ‘Get Smart, Again!’

He appeared in the 1992 Christmas special television film ‘Inspector Gadget Saves Christmas.’

He launched a sequel to ‘Get Smart’ in 1995, but it only lasted seven episodes.

He played ‘Gadget Boy’ in the ‘Inspector Gadget’ spinoffs ‘Gadget Boy & Heather’ and ‘Gadget Boy’s Adventures in History’ from 1995 to 1997. During this time, he also reprised his ‘Inspector Gadget’ role in the series ‘Inspector Gadget’s Field Trip.

From 1998 to 1999, he focused on voiceover work for animated series such as ‘Pepper Ann’ and a character in the Hollywood film ‘Inspector Gadget.’

Though his acting roles dried up near the end of his career, he continued to make money by performing stand-up comedy in nightclubs and receiving royalties from reruns of his show ‘Get Smart.’

In 2003, he made his final public appearance at a gathering of the ‘Get Smart’ cast and crew at a Los Angeles restaurant.

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Personal Life & Wives

Don Adams was married three times: the first time to Adelaide Efantis (Adelaide Adams), the second time to Dorothy Bracken, and the third time to Judy Luciano.

Carolyn, Christine, Cathy, Cecily, Stacey, Sean, and Beige were his seven children from various marriages.

His daughter, Cecily, died a year before his death from lung cancer, and his son, Sean, died a year later from a brain tumor.

In his spare time, he enjoyed gambling, painting, and poetry.

On September 25, 2005, in the presence of his family, he died from a lung infection while battling lymphoma and recovering from a broken hip at ‘Cedars-Sinai Medical Center’ in Los Angeles, California.

He is laid to rest alongside Hollywood legends at the ‘Hollywood Forever Cemetery.’

Don Adams Quotes

I like getting married, but I don’t like being married.

Don Adams


I did movie star impressions as a kid in high school. Somehow they just got out of hand.

Don Adams


I’ve been paying alimony since I was 14 and child support since 15. That’s a joke, but not by much.

Don Adams


Sometimes I wonder how I got into comedy at all.

Don Adams


Maxwell is serious, dedicated, awkward, forgetful, pompous to a certain degree, sentimental.

Don Adams


It was a special show that became a cult classic of sorts, and I made a lot of money for it.

Don Adams


I am a quick study – I can memorize a script in an hour – but I can’t remember a name three seconds. I’ve even forgotten my wife’s name on occasion.

Don Adams


I was married awfully young and I felt trapped. My wife had been divorced and all the time we were married we were out of the Church. It wasn’t until we were divorced that we became good Catholics again.

Don Adams

View our larger collection of the best Don Adams quotes.

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