1923 – Adams was born in New York City on April 13, 1923.
1939 – Adams served with the United States Marine Corps during World War II in the Pacific Theater and later as a drill instructor. He was the only member of his platoon to survive the Battle of Guadalcanal, but he contracted malaria during the invasion and nearly died of blackwater fever.
1954 – His work on television began in 1954, when he won "Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts" with a stand-up comedy act written by boyhood friend Bill Dana. He appeared on numerous comedy, variety, and dramatic series before landing the role of Maxwell Smart.
1963-1970 – Adams also worked as a voice actor in Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales. Best known for his role as Maxwell Smart (Agent 86) in the TV situation comedy Get Smart (1965-1970, 1995), for which he also directed and wrote. Adams won three consecutive Emmy Awards for his portrayal of Smart (1967-1969).
1983-1985 – Became famous as the voice of Inspector Gadget in the initial run of that television series and the Christmas Special, as well as in later reprises. He stated in interviews that his famous "clippy" voice characterization was based on, and an exaggeration of, the speaking style of actor William Powell. Occasionally, he also enjoyed doing a more explicit impersonation of Ronald Colman.
2005 – He died in Los Angeles, California on September 25, 2005 at the age of 82 from a sudden lung infection following a long battle with bone lymphoma. He is interred in Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood, California.