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Bob Denver of 'Gilligan's Island' dies at 70

Tuesday, September 6, 2005; Posted: 2:54 p.m. EDT (18:54 GMT) www.cnn.com

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- Bob Denver, whose portrayal of goofy first mate Gilligan on the 1960s television show "Gilligan's Island" made him an iconic figure to generations of TV viewers, has died, his agent confirmed Tuesday. He was 70.

Denver, who underwent quadruple heart bypass surgery earlier this year, died Friday at Wake Forest University Baptist Hospital in North Carolina, according to agent Mike Eisenstadt.

Denver's death was first reported by "Entertainment Tonight."

Denver also played the title character's beatnik pal, Maynard G. Krebs, on TV's "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis."


Bob Denver, TV's 'Gilligan,' dies at 70

Tuesday, September 6, 2005; Posted: 3:12 p.m. EDT (19:12 GMT) www.cnn.com

Bob Denver, here in June 2000, underwent quadruple heart bypass surgery earlier this year.

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- Bob Denver, whose portrayal of goofy first mate Gilligan on the 1960s television show "Gilligan's Island" made him an iconic figure to generations of TV viewers, has died, his agent confirmed Tuesday. He was 70.

Denver, who underwent quadruple heart bypass surgery earlier this year, died Friday at Wake Forest University Baptist Hospital in North Carolina, according to agent Mike Eisenstadt.

"Entertainment Tonight" first reported Denver's death.

Denver's wife, Dreama, and children Patrick, Megan, Emily and Colin were with him when he died.

"He was my everything and I will love him forever," Dreama Denver said in a statement.

Denver's signature role was Gilligan. But he already was known to TV audiences for another iconic character, that of Maynard G. Krebs, the bearded beatnik friend of Dwayne Hickman's Dobie in "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis," which aired from 1959 to 1963.

"Gilligan's Island" lasted on CBS from 1964 to 1967, and it was revived in later seasons with three high-rated TV movies. It was a Robinson Crusoe story about seven disparate travelers who are marooned on a deserted Pacific Island after their small boat was wrecked in a storm.

The cast included Alan Hale Jr., as Skipper Jonas Grumby; Denver, as his klutzy assistant Gilligan; Jim Backus and Natalie Schafer, as rich snobs Thurston and Lovey Howell; Tina Louise, as movie star Ginger Grant; Russell Johnson, as egghead science professor Roy Hinkley Jr.; and Dawn Wells, as sweet-natured farm girl Mary Ann Summers.

TV critics hooted at "Gilligan's Island," but audiences adored it. Writer-creator Sherwood Schwartz insisted that the show had social meaning along with the laughs: "I knew that by assembling seven different people and forcing them to live together, the show would have great philosophical implications."

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Oscar-Winning 'Sound of Music' Director Robert Wise


Producer Robert Wise with Steve McQueen on the set of

'The Sand Pebbles' in 1966.

Robert Wise, who won four Oscars as producer and director of the classic 1960s musicals "West Side Story" and "The Sound of Music," has died. He was 91. Wise died Wednesday, September 14 of heart failure after falling ill and being rushed to the University of California, Los Angeles, Medical Center, family friend and longtime entertainment agent Lawrence Mirisch told The Associated Press. Mirisch said Wise had appeared in good health when he celebrated his 91st birthday Saturday, September 10.

Wise was nominated for seven Oscars, including the four he won, during a career that spanned more than 50 years. The other nominations were for editing the 1941 Orson Welles classic, "Citizen Kane," directing 1958's "I Want to Live!" and producing 1966's "The Sand Pebbles," which was nominated for best picture. More recently, he served as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and the Directors Guild of America.

Wise directed 39 films in all, ranging from science fiction ("The Day the Earth Stood Still") to drama ("I Want to Live!") to war stories ("Run Silent Run Deep") to Westerns ("Tribute to a Bad Man"). "I'd rather do my own thing, which has been to choose projects that take me into all different kinds of genres," he once told The AP. "I don't have a favorite kind of film to make. I just look for the best material I can find."


Director Robert Wise is flanked by actors Jack Lemmon

and Julie Andrews as he displays his 26th American Film

Institute Life Achievement Award.

With the big-budget productions "West Side Story" and "The Sound of Music," he helped create two of the most critically acclaimed and popular musicals of all time. "West Side Story" was the tale of "Romeo and Juliet" set in the New York City tenement slums of the early 1960s. Co-directed by Wise and Jerome Robbins, with music by Leonard Bernstein, it won 10 Academy Awards.

"The Sound of Music," which told the story of the singing von Trapp family's escape from Nazi-ruled Austria, won five Oscars. It was for many years the top-grossing film of all time. Wise gave much of the credit for the film's success to its stars, Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. "A big part of a director's job is done if he gets the right actors in the right roles," he once said. "That doesn't mean you don't help actors, but once we thought about Julie and Chris, we didn't seriously consider anyone else."

He also credited Orson Welles, for whom he edited "The Magnificent Ambersons" and "Citizen Kane," as a major influence, adding that the actor-director-writer was "as close to a genius as anyone I have ever met." "Citizen Kane" was "a marvelous film to work on well-planned and well-shot," Wise once said. It has topped many polls over the years as the best film ever made.


Robert Wise

Wise moved up from film editor to director almost by accident when he was assigned to finish "The Curse of the Cat People" after the original director fell too far behind schedule on that 1944 film. Pleased with his work, horror film producer Val Lewton assigned Wise to direct "The Body Snatcher" the following year.

Other films Wise directed include "The Set-Up" in 1949; "Destination Gobi" in 1952; "Executive Suite" in 1954; "Two for the Seesaw" in 1962; "The Haunting" in 1963; "The Andromeda Strain" in 1971; and "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" in 1979.

Born September 10, 1914, in Winchester, Indiana, Wise dropped out of college during the Depression after his brother, an accountant at RKO, helped get him a job at the studio. He worked his way up to film editor or co-editor on such movies as "The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle," "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" and "The Devil and Daniel Webster."

In addition to his four Oscars, Wise was awarded the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, a special Oscar for sustained achievement, in 1966. He also received the Directors Guild of America's highest honor, the D.W. Griffith Award, in 1988.


Robert Wise

Films of Robert Wise

As Director (sometimes also producer):

The Curse of the Cat People - 1944

Mademoiselle Fifi - 1944

The Body Snatcher - 1945

A Game of Death - 1945

Criminal Court - 1946

Born to Kill - 1947

Mystery in Mexico - 1948

Blood on the Moon - 1948

The Set-Up - 1949

Two Flags West - 1950

Three Secrets - 1950

The House on Telegraph Hill - 1951

The Day the Earth Stood Still - 1951

The Captive City - 1952

Something for the Birds - 1952

The Desert Rats - 1953

Destination Gobi - 1953

So Big - 1953

Executive Suite - 1954

Helen of Troy - 1955


Robert Wise, Frank Capra and George Seaton

Tribute to a Bad Man - 1956

Somebody Up There Likes Me - 1956

This Could Be the Night - 1957

Until They Sail - 1957

Run Silent Run Deep - 1958

I Want To Live! - 1958

Odds Against Tomorrow - 1959

West Side Story - 1961 (co-director)

Two for the Seesaw - 1962

The Haunting - 1963

The Sound of Music - 1965

The Sand Pebbles - 1966

Star! - 1968

The Andromeda Strain - 1972

Two People - 1973

The Hindenburg - 1975

Audrey Rose - 1977

Star Trek: The Motion Picture - 1979

Rooftops - 1989

A Storm in Summer - 2000 (TV film)


Robert Wise (right) and Art Director Ed Carfagna on the

set of 'The Hindenburg.'

As Editor (selected films):

The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle - 1939

The Hunchback of Notre Dame - 1939

All That Money Can Buy - 1941

The Devil and Daniel Webster - 1941

Citizen Kane - 1941

The Magnificent Ambersons - 1942

The Fallen Sparrow - 1943

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Producer Sid Luft, Ex-Husband of Judy Garland

by Ian Gregor


Judy Garland with husband Sid Luft

LOS ANGELES, California - Producer Sid Luft, who is credited with reviving the career of his then-wife, Judy Garland, in the 1950s, has died. He was 89. Luft, whose movie production credits included "Kilroy was Here" (1947), "French Leave" (1948) and "A Star is Born" (1954), died Thursday, September 15 in Santa Monica of an apparent heart attack, John Kimble, a longtime friend and business partner of Luft, said.

Luft and Garland were married in 1952 and divorced a tumultuous 13 years later. The marriage was Garland's third and Luft's third. They had two children together, Lorna in 1952 and Joey in 1955. Luft also was stepfather to singer and actress Liza Minnelli, who Garland had with director Vincente Minnelli in 1946.

Luft was credited with helping resurrect Garland's career after she was released from her contract at MGM in 1950 following a series of personal and professional crises. It was at MGM that she became a star and made such films as "The Wizard of Oz" and "Meet Me in St. Louis."


Luft and Garland had two children together,

Lorna (front left) in 1952 and Joey in 1955.

Luft, as Garland's manager and agent, produced stage shows for her in London and New York and then brought her back to motion pictures, said Coyne Steven Sanders, Luft's longtime friend and author of the 1990 Garland biography "Rainbow's End."

"A Star Is Born," produced by Luft and directed by George Cukor, brought Garland an Academy Award nomination for best actress. The oft-filmed story of a troubled movie star whose career is overshadowed by that of his protegee also got five other nominations including for best actor (James Mason), best score and best song.

Luft in 1995 also successfully produced a special show for CBS that marked Garland's first appearance on television. But Luft's marriage to Garland was marked by numerous separations. During their divorce hearing in 1965, Garland told a judge that Luft was an abusive husband. "He struck me many times. He did a lot of drinking," Garland, who died in 1969, told a judge.


Judy Garland on the set with husband Sid Luft

Garland professionally turned to Luft again in 1966 and he booked her on U.S. and international stage tours, Sanders said. "Sid was a great showman, he had great instincts and he knew how to package and put together a show," Sanders said. "Certainly, I can say, knowing him, that Judy was the love of his life. He still loved her and always did."

In 1993, when Luft tried to auction off the 1939 best juvenile actress Oscar that Garland won for her performance in "The Wizard of Oz," the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences sued and won.

After he and Garland divorced, Luft married Patti Hemingway in 1970. That union also ended in divorce. He married actress Camille Keaton in 1993.

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Oscar-Winning Songwriter Joel Hirschhorn

by Myrna Oliver, L.A. Times


Joel Hirschhorn

Joel Hirschhorn, the songwriter who shared Academy Awards for theme songs in two catastrophe-oriented motion pictures, "The Poseidon Adventure" and "The Towering Inferno" has died. He was 67. Hirschhorn, who lived in Agoura Hills, California died early Sunday, September 18. He was 67.

Hirschhorn passed away of a heart attack at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center in Thousand Oaks, California. This was not Hirschhorn's first visit to the hospital over the weekend. His wife, documentary producer Jennifer Carter Hirschhorn, said her husband broke his shoulder earlier that weekend in a fall on Friday, September 16.

His songs, recorded by artists including Elvis Presley, have sold more than 90 million records, and his music accents a score of motion pictures. Along with longtime collaborator Al Kasha, Hirschhorn won his first Oscar in 1973 for "The Morning After" from the 'Poseidon' movie about a luxury cruise ship capsized by a huge wave.


Joel Hirschhorn in the studio with Helen Reddy and his

musical writing partner, Al Kasha.

The duo earned a second statuette two years later for their song "We May Never Love Like This Again" from "The Towering Inferno," a film about a conflagration in a high-rise building. Hirschhorn and Kasha were nominated for two Oscars in 1977

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'Little Rascals' Actor Thomas 'Butch' Bond


Thomas 'Butch' Bond as an adult and in his famous 'Little Rascals' role

Thomas Ross Bond, who played Butch the bully in the "Our Gang" and "The Little Rascals" serials of the 1930s, has died. He was 79. Bond died Saturday, September 24 of complications from heart disease at Northridge Hospital in Los Angeles, according to his manager, Frank Marks.

Ask anyone who even casually remembers the "Little Rascals" who Alfalfa's nemesis was and they'll tell you "IT'S BUTCH!" Clearly, it's not just the heroes and good-guys that leave an impression. "Our Gang" lasted for 22 years, during which time tough-guys came and went.

The classic black and white series never really embraced the idea of a recurring bully that audiences could grow to despise. That is, until Tommy Bond played Butch. Kids in the audiences would happily grow to fear and hiss at his character.


Tommy 'Butch' Bond was the archenemy of Carl 'Alfalfa'

Switzer in 'Our Gang' and 'Little Rascals.'

Bond appeared in dozens of "Our Gang" and "Little Rascals" portraying the archenemy of Alfalfa. He gleefully portrayed Butch for the next four years, until he outgrew the 'Gang,' a fate which fell upon all 'Rascals' eventually. The path Bond took to become part of the cast could almost be a movie in itself.

Tommy Bond was born in Dallas, Texas on September 16, 1926. Bond was five years old when he was discovered by a Hal Roach Studios talent scout. The scout approached him as he was leaving a movie theater with his mother and "asked him if he'd be interested in acting, (said) he had a great face and he could set up an appointment with Hal Roach in L.A.," Marks said.

Bond was offered the interview with Roach, IF he could get out to Hollywood. His grandmother, Jane Quine Sauter, volunteered to drive him in what, at the time, was considered a rugged journey. The year was 1931 and the country was in the depth of the Great Depression. It proved to be a grueling trip, punctuated by flash floods and encounters with tarantulas, on mostly dirt roads from Dallas to Los Angeles.


Tommy 'Butch' Bond competed with Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer

for Darla Hood's affections.

Bond was signed on with the 'Gang' to play Tommy. He appeared in a number of shorts, as one of the "second-echelon" kids. For unknown reasons, Tommy was dropped from the cast after his first year. He managed to pick up freelance parts for almost two years, before Hal Roach called him back in 1937 to play the part of the tough-guy, Butch.

Bond was hired to replace Leonard Kibrick in the bully role. In the "Our Gang" short subjects series, Butch always competed with Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer for Darla Hood's affections. Bond appeared in dozens of "Our Gang" and "Little Rascals" features before outgrowing the role.

After "Our Gang," Bond went to Van Nuys High School where he joined the ROTC. After graduating, he enlisted in the Navy Air Corps. Following his stay in the service, Bond continued his acting career. Bond appeared in a number of films, such as those featuring fellow Hal Roach Studios comedians Charley Chase and Laurel and Hardy. He also worked as a voice actor, most notably as the voice of "Owl Jolson" in Tex Avery's 1936 Looney Tunes cartoon, "I Love to Singa."


Tom Bond as Jimmy Olsen in the Superman serials.

Probably Bond's most famous role during this period was that of Jimmy Olsen, the sidekick of Clark Kent in two full Superman serials in 1946 and 1948. Bond also appeared as Joey Pepper in several installments of the "Five Little Peppers" serial. In 1951, following college, Bond quit acting and decided to go behind the camera.

In 1953, Bond's personal life took a positive turn when he married a former Miss California, Polly Ellis and had one son together. Polly sang in a Country & Western duet known as the "Darling Sisters." His son, Butch, followed in his famous father's footsteps and is a producer/director and an independent film maker today.

Bond went into television directing and production work when television was still in its infancy. Bond became an assistant director at channel 11 in Los Angeles. Twenty-one years of "smog, earthquakes, and wall-to-wall people" was enough for Bond, and in 1972 he moved to the San Joaqin Valley where he took on work at channel 30 and remained until he retired in 1991.


Tom 'Butch' Bond (left) and George 'Spanky' McFarland

got together in 1992 in Los Angeles.

In retirement, Bond became the spokesman for Cabin Fever's 21-volume Video Set of fully restored "Little Rascals" films. For the first time, all of the Little Rascals talkies and a few of the silents had been painstakingly restored and lost scenes put back where they belonged. Bond travelled around the country promoting "Little Rascals" with numerous appearances on television and collector's conventions.

Bond's next venture was as an author. He chronicled his days with the 'Gang' in a book which is aptly entitled "You're Darn Right It's Butch!" In addition, Bond served on the Board of Directors of the Comedy Hall of Fame, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of various comedy media.

Bond is survived by his wife, Pauline, son Thomas Ross Bond III and a grandson.

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Don Adams of 'Get Smart' dead

'Would you believe?' actor was 82


Monday, September 26, 2005; Posted: 3:00 p.m. EDT (19:00 GMT)

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- Don Adams, the wry-voiced comedian who starred as the fumbling secret agent Maxwell Smart in the 1960s television spoof of James Bond movies, "Get Smart," has died. He was 82.

Adams died of a lung infection late Sunday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, his friend and former agent Bruce Tufeld said Monday, adding the actor broke his hip a year ago and had been in ill health since.

As the inept Agent 86 of the super-secret federal agency CONTROL, Adams captured TV viewers with his antics in combatting the evil agents of KAOS.

When his explanations failed to convince the villains or his boss, he tried another tack: "Would you believe ...?"

It became a national catch phrase.

Smart was also prone to spilling things on the desk or person of The Chief (actor Edward Platt). Smart's apologetic "Sorry about that, chief" also entered the American lexicon.

The spy gadgets, which aped those of the Bond movies, were a popular feature, especially the pre-cell-phone telephone in a shoe.

Smart's beautiful partner, Agent 99, played by Barbara Feldon, was as brainy as he was dense, and a plot romance led to marriage and the birth of twins later in the series.

Adams, who had been under contract to NBC, was lukewarm about doing a spy spoof. When he learned that Mel Brooks and Buck Henry had written the pilot script, he accepted immediately.

"Get Smart" debuted on NBC in September 1965 and scored No. 12 among the season's most-watched series and No. 22 in its second season.

Adams was also the voice of animated characters Tennessee Tuxedo and Inspector Gadget. In the 1970s, Adams hosted "Don Adams' Screen Test," a participatory show in which contestants got to be actors.

"Get Smart" twice won the Emmy for best comedy series with three Emmys for Adams as comedy actor.

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'Get Smart's' Don Adams


Don Adams in his signature role of Maxwell Smart and a more recent

appearance at a 'Get Smart' fan convention.

LOS ANGELES, California - Don Adams once confessed to hating "Get Smart." He was about the only one. The former standup comic who donned a trench coat, launched a catch phrase ("Would you believe...?") and won three Emmys as blundering, yet self-assured spy, Maxwell Smart on the 1960s TV comedy died of a lung infection late Sunday, September 25 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. He was 82.

Adams' friend and former agent, Bruce Tufeld, confirmed the death on Monday, September 26 adding that the actor had been in poor health since breaking his hip a year earlier. Adams had also been suffering from lymphoma for several years. His death silences his other signature creation: "Inspector Gadget." Adams was the voice behind the blundering, yet fearless crime fighter from the cartoon character's inception in 1983.

It is Maxwell Smart, though, for whom Adams will be first remembered. Adams starred as Smart--Agent 86 to his fellow CONTROL operatives--in the 1965-1970 sitcom. From 1967-69, he earned three straight best comedy series actor Emmys.


Star Don Adams, Executive Producer/Writer Leonard Stein

and Writer/Creator Buck Henry won Emmys for 'Get Smart.'

From the minds of Mel Brooks and Buck Henry, "Get Smart" pitted Smart's CONTROL in a never-ending battle of good versus the evil of KAOS. The show was a Top 25 hit for NBC its first two seasons. The show moved to CBS in 1969, ending its run a year later in true jump-the-shark fashion, with Smart and lady-love, Agent 99 (Barbara Feldon) welcoming the birth of twins.

Adams went on to play Maxwell Smart in the 1980 theatrical bomb, "The Nude Bomb," about a madman whose bomb destroyed people's clothing. He once again donned the trench coat for the 1989 TV-movie, "Get Smart Again" and the short-lived 1995 revival series, also titled, "Get Smart," with Andy Dick as his offspring.

Even as a TV pitchman, for Chief Auto Parts and others, Adams played a Smart-esque character. In 1980, Adams told People he was too Smart for his own good. "Producers felt I couldn't do anything else," he said in the magazine. "Every time I've gotten a script it's another Maxwell Smart-type character." Even worse, Smart wasn't a character of which Adams was particularly fond.


Don Adams Tribute Collage

In People, he admitted he wanted to throw his TV set through a window after watching the first few episodes--"I couldn't stand the laugh track," he said. But in a decade marked by the low-watt humor of "The Beverly Hillbillies" and "I Dream of Jeannie," "Get Smart" was the bright bulb, even if its title character was on the dim side.

Smart was also prone to spilling things on the desk or person of his boss -- the Chief (actor Edward Platt). Smart's apologetic "Sorry about that, chief" also entered the American lexicon. The spy gadgets, which aped those of the Bond movies, were a popular feature, especially the pre-cell-phone telephone in a shoe.

Smart's beautiful partner, Agent 99, played by Barbara Feldon, was as brainy as he was dense, and a plot romance led to marriage and the birth of twins later in the series. Adams, who had been under contract to NBC, was lukewarm about doing a spy spoof. When he learned that Mel Brooks and Buck Henry had written the pilot script, he accepted immediately.


NBC's 'Get Smart' co-starred Don Adams as Maxwell Smart

and Barbara Feldon as Agent 99 in 1965.

"Get Smart" debuted on NBC in September 1965 and scored No. 12 among the season's most-watched series and No. 22 in its second season. "Get Smart" twice won the Emmy for best comedy series with three Emmys for Adams as comedy actor.

CBS picked up "Get Smart" but the ratings fell off as the jokes seemed repetitive, and it was canceled after four seasons. The show lived on in syndication and a cartoon series. In 1995 the Fox network revived the series with Smart as Chief and 99 as a congresswoman. It lasted seven episodes.

Adams never had another showcase to display his comic talent. "It was a special show that became a cult classic of sorts, and I made a lot of money for it," he remarked of "Get Smart" in a 1995 interview. "But it also hindered me career-wise because I was typed. The character was so strong, particularly because of that distinctive voice, that nobody could picture me in any other type of role."

Adams' post-Smart career was marked by numerous cruises on "The Love Boat" (he even boarded the original 1976 TV-movie), and several failed series, including "Don Adams' Screen Test" (1974), in which wannabe actors were given their shots at big-screen stardom.


Don Adams points out two of his alter egos in the art form of the

animated Tennessee Tuxedo and Inspector Gadget.

It would take the debut of the syndicated animated series, "Inspector Gadget" to free Adams somewhat from Agent 86's telephone shoes. Only older audiences knew Adams was riffing on Smart; younger audiences thought he was creating Gadget just for them.

The original Gadget series was produced from 1983-85. It spawned several videos and spinoffs that kept Adams busy through the 1990s. It also inspired a live-action franchise. Adams didn't appear in the movies, but he did lend a voice to the first film, 1999's "Inspector Gadget," starring Matthew Broderick.

Adams was born Donald James Yarmy in New York City on April 13, 1923, Tufeld said, although some sources say 1926 or 1927. The actor's father was a Hungarian Jew who ran a few small restaurants in the Bronx. In a 1959 interview Adams said he never cared about being funny as a kid, "Sometimes I wonder how I got into comedy at all. I did movie star impressions as a kid in high school. Somehow they just got out of hand."

In 1941, Adams dropped out of school to join the Marines. In Guadalcanal, he survived the deadly blackwater fever and was returned to the States to become a drill instructor, acquiring the clipped delivery that served him well as a comedian. After the World War II, he worked in New York as a commercial artist by day, doing standup comedy in clubs at night..


The two sides of Don Adams . . . the serious actor and the clown.

While honing his skills as a comic, he took the surname of his first wife, Adelaide Adams. His career took off in 1954 when his jokes got the applause meter moving on "Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts," the "Star Search" of its day. His following grew, and soon he was appearing on "The Ed Sullivan Show" and late-night TV shows.

Adam's sitcom debut came in 1963 with a supporting role in "The Bill Dana Show." Bill Dana, who had helped him develop comedy routines, cast him as his sidekick. That led to the NBC contract and "Get Smart." Adams also made his mark in 1963 as the voice of the titular penguin in the CBS Saturday morning cartoon series, "Tennessee Tuxedo."

Adams married and divorced three times. He had seven children. His daughter, Cecily Adams, a casting director and "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" recurring guest star, died March 3, 2004 at age 39 of lung cancer. Tufeld said funeral arrangements were incomplete.

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'The Road Less Traveled' Author M. Scott Peck


Author M. Scott Peck

LOS ANGELES, California -- Author M. Scott Peck, who wrote the best-seller "The Road Less Traveled" and other books, died Sunday, September 25. He was 69. Peck died at his home in Connecticut, longtime friend and Los Angeles publicist Michael Levine said. He had suffered from pancreatic and liver duct cancer.

Born in New York City, Peck received his bachelor's degree from Harvard College in 1958 and his doctorate from the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in 1963. He served in the U.S. Army between 1963 and 1972.

Peck spent more than 10 years in the private practice of psychiatry and had his first book, "The Road Less Traveled" published in 1978. The self-help book that begins "Life is difficult" has sold more than 6 million copies in North America and been translated into 20 languages. By the mid-1990s, the book had made 258 appearances on The New York Times best-seller list.

Other books he wrote included "People of the Lie: The Hope For Healing Human Evil," "Meditations From the Road" and "Further Along the Road Less Traveled." Peck was the recipient of the 1984 Kaleidscope Award for Peacemaking and the 1994 Temple International Peace Prize. He also received The Learning, Faith and Freedom Medal from Georgetown University in 1996.

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Michael Wittenberg, Husband of Bernadette Peters


Bernadette Peters and Michael Wittenberg

Michael Wittenberg, husband of Broadway musical-theater star Bernadette Peters, died Monday, September 26 in a helicopter crash in Montenegro. He was 43. Wittenberg, an investment adviser, was on a business trip, Judy Katz, a spokeswoman for Peters, reported. Three other people were killed in the crash, which occurred when the aircraft struck a high-voltage cable, police in Podgorica, Montenegro said.

Wittenberg married the Tony Award-winning actress in July 1996. They wed at the home of Mary Tyler Moore, a longtime friend of Peters. Peters most recently appeared on Broadway in the 2003 revival of "Gypsy." Her other Broadway shows include "Sunday in the Park With George" and "Into the Woods." She won Tonys for her performances in "Song & Dance" and the 1999 revival of "Annie Get Your Gun."

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