Yarmy, Donald James, Cpl

 Service Photo 
 Service Details
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Last Rank
Last Primary MOS
Last MOSGroup
Primary Unit
1944-1945, 522, U.S. Disciplinary Barracks, Hart's Island, NY, Marine Barracks New York Naval Yards
Service Years
1942 - 1945
Official/Unofficial USMC Certificates
Golden Dragon Certificate
Shellback Certificate
Enlisted Collar Insignia

 Last Photo 
 Personal Details 

42 kb

Home State
New York
New York
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SSgt Michael Frederick to remember Marine Cpl Donald James Yarmy (Don Adams).

If you knew or served with this Marine and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Contact Info
Home Town
New York
Last Address
Beverly Hills
Date of Passing
Sep 25, 2005
Location of Interment
Hollywood Forever - Hollywood, California
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Plot: Section 8, Lot 57, Grave 20

 Official Badges 

WW II Honorable Discharge Pin USMC Corrections Badge

 Unofficial Badges 

Drill Instructor Shellback

 Military Associations and Other Affiliations
Celebrities Who Served
  2014, Celebrities Who Served

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity:

Played Agent 86 on the hit 1960s TV show, "Get Smart." If anyone can provide a link where I can access a photo of Don in uniform, it would be greatly appreciated. It seems next to impossible to find one.

Yarmy (Don Adams) was wounded during the Battle of Guadalcanal, nearly dying. He also contracted blackwater fever, a complication of malaria. After his recovery and return to the States he served as a drill instructor. As a Marine Corps drill instructor he was commended by his superiors for being able to exceed the performance of his recruits at every required physical task.

Other Comments:

American comic actor and comedian who gained worldwide fame and three Emmy Awards starring as Agent 86, Maxwell Smart, in the classic television comedy "Get Smart" (1965).

Born Donald James Yarmy on April 13, 1923 [correct, despite frequently reported erroneous dates] in New York City to Irish-Hungarian parents, Adams prepared for a career as a commercial artist. He joined the U.S. Marines in the early days of World War II. He saw combat in the invasion of Guadalcanal and was the only survivor of his platoon. He contracted blackwater fever and nearly died, remaining hospitalized for more than a year. After his recovery he served as a drill instructor. ((HQMC Unit Diaries indicate he was a Prison Guard/GCM Prisoner Guard at US Disciplinary Barracks, Hart's Island, NY NY)).

Following the war, he embarked on a career as an impressionist and stand-up comedian, appearing in small clubs in Florida and Washington D.C. He married singer Adelaide Adams and took her professional last name as his own stage name. In 1954, his stand-up act, written with his boyhood friend Bill Dana, landed him a contestant spot on Arthur Godfrey's "Talent Scouts" (1948), which he won. This led to scores of appearances on comedy and variety series such as "The Steve Allen Plymouth Show" (1956) and Ed Sullivan's "The Ed Sullivan Show" (1948), and ultimately to a regular job on "Perry Como's Kraft Music Hall" (1948). He also played in stock and in 1962 starred with Anthony Perkins in the Broadway play "Harold".

Divorced and remarried (to dancer Dorothy Bracken ), Adams in 1963 reunited with Bill Dana on "The Bill Dana Show" (1963), playing inept hotel detective Byron Glick, a forerunner to his most famous characterization. NBC placed Adams under contract and gave him the starring role in the Mel Brooks and Buck Henry spy spoof "Get Smart" (1965). As the bumbling yet intrepid secret agent Maxwell Smart, Adams was an instant success. With his alluring straight-woman partner Agent 99 (Barbara Feldon), Adams became a comic icon of the 1960s, popularizing dozens of catch-phrases that still resound today: "Would you believe?", "Missed it by THAT much!", "...and LOVING it!" and "Sorry about that, Chief."

Adams reveled in the show and its popularity, and particularly enjoyed writing and directing several episodes. "Get Smart" (1965) ran for five seasons and brought Adams wealth, awards, and worldwide fame. At the same time, he continued to achieve recognition as one of the funniest and most popular stand-up comedians of his generation.

Adams returned in a new series in 1971, "The Partners" (1971), which, though slightly more serious than Get Smart, still had him playing a bumbling law-enforcement officer. This time he starred with Rupert Crosse, the two playing a pair of none-too-bright detectives. The show lasted one season. Except for the intriguing but unsuccessful "Don Adams' Screen Test" (1975) (a contest show in which Adams directed famous stars and amateurs in scenes from classic movies), he did not return to series television for fourteen years.

Instead he guest-starred on sitcoms, variety shows, and occasional TV movies. He played Las Vegas showrooms and nightclubs, though he grew increasingly reluctant to perform before live audiences. With the distinctive voice of his on-screen persona, he had long been active in voice-over work. Even during the Get Smart period he had been popular among children as the title voice of the animated "Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales" (1963), and later was even more popular in his title role as "Inspector Gadget" (1983).

Divorced again, he married a third time in 1977 (to Judy Luciano). During this period, Adams starred in and directed a number of commercials, winning a CLIO Award for directing. In 1980, he reluctantly returned to the Maxwell Smart character in a feature film, The Nude Bomb (1980), which he hated. He also brought the character briefly back to television in the 1989 TV movie Get Smart, Again! (1989) (TV).

In 1985, he returned to series television in a Canadian sitcom, "Check It Out" (1985), in which he played the manager of a supermarket. The show was popular enough to run for three seasons on American TV, but it mainly provided a paycheck for Adams and a co-starring role for a pre-"NYPD Blue" (1993) Gordon Clapp.

In later years, he hoped for a chance at serious roles, of which he had done many in his early years in summer stock. But the opportunity never arrived. A role was actually written for him by his son-in-law Jim Beaver for the revived "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (1985) in 1986, but the producers feared he could not subsume his comedic persona, and the role went to Martin Landau.

Instead, he returned to the role that had made him world famous, in a third revival of Maxwell Smart. The 1995 series version of "Get Smart" (1995) featured Adams as Smart, now promoted to Chief of the secret agency CONTROL. Barbara Feldon also returned as his wife and colleague, but instead of the couple who had made television history, the show focused on the bumbling spy efforts of their son Zach Smart. Only seven episodes aired before the new show was cancelled.

Adams spent the remainder of his career doing commercials and voice work, mostly in new Inspector Gadget productions. In 1999, he made a cameo voice appearance in the live-action Inspector Gadget (1999) feature film starring Matthew Broderick as Gadget.

Like his brother, the late comic actor Dick Yarmy, Adams was an inveterate horse-player. His leisure time was largely spent either at racetracks or in card games at the Playboy Mansion, and with pals such as Hugh M. Hefner, James Caan, and Don Rickles. Divorced for the third time, he lived alone in a luxury apartment in Century City. He was a devoted history buff, and was an amateur expert on the lives of Abraham Lincoln and Adolf Hitler. He was a talented poet and painter.

His health declined in later years with the onset of bone lymphoma, but took a precipitous turn for the worse following the death in 2004 of his daughter, actress-casting director Cecily Adams. He died from a lung infection at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Beverly Hills on September 25, 2005. Two of his former wives and three of his children, as well as other family members, were with him when he died.

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1st Bn, 1st Marines (1/1)

10th Marines

1st Combat Engineer Bn (CEB)

2nd Bn, 7th Marines (2/7)

3rd Bn, 2nd Marines (3/2)


MARDET USS Los Angeles (CA-135)


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MARDET USS Houston (CA-30)

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Mardet NAB Argentia, Newfoundland

MARDET USS Midway (CVA-41)

MARDET USS Bremerton (CA-130)

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