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Celebrity Veterans

Before you knew them as actors, musicians, politicians and important personalities, these brave men and women served their respective countries in both times of war and times of peace. This page serves as nothing more than a way to honor that legacy of commitment and service.

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Entries in Don Adams (1)


Don Adams, USMC, World War II

Don Adams as Agent 86 on Get SmartDon Adams  (Actor)
(Donald James Yarmy)
b. 13 Apr 1923  – 25 Sep 2005
US Marine Corps  
(World War II, Samoa and Guadalcanal) 

He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1941 with his cousin Robert Karvelas and his twin brother William.  The three were in the Third Marines on Samoa until Adams was sent as a replacement to the Guadalcanal Campaign. It was in these tropical conditions that he contracted blackwater fever narrowly surviving despite its near 90% fatality rate. He spent the following year in a Navy hospital in Wellington, New Zealand recovering.  After his recovery, he returned to the United States where he served as a Marine drill instructor.

Here’s an excerpt from a National Enquirer interview with Don entitled: Don Adams: I Believe Prayer Alone Saved My Life in 1943.

“When you're only 16 and waiting to die --- you're scared”, TV star Don Adams told The ENQUIRER. It was 1943. Adams, who had enlisted in the Marines, had caught blackwater fever on Guadalcanal in the South Pacific.

After being flown to a hospital in Wellington, New Zealand, I was told nothing much could be done for me, I was just left to die. That's when I started praying. I prayed night and day that my life might be spared. Five days later I woke to find the fever and all its symptoms completely disappeared. Before that my body was so badly bloated that it was more than twice its normal size. The doctors had not scientific explanation for what seemed a miraculous recovery. Logic told them I should have died.”

“Today there are no physical indications that I ever suffered from such an ordeal. It is as though I never had blackwater fever. I believe that it was prayer and prayer alone that saved my life. At a time like that I knew the only help I could expect would be from God. He was my only hope for survival. Since that time I've been convinced someone up there is watching over every one of us.

Don Adams went on to play the carefree yet cunning Maxwell Smart on the popular television show Get Smart. He is interred in Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood, CA. Supposedly he had wished to have a military funeral and be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.