Get Smart was a television series that parodied the secret agent genre that was popular in the mid-1960s after the launch of the James Bond films. The Get Smart cast included Don Adams, Barbara Feldon, Edward Platt, and Stacy Keach Sr, among others. Unfortunately, many of the cast members are no longer with us.
In this video, we’re going to look at how each Get Smart cast member died. Be sure to watch until the end of the video to learn what the surviving cast members are up to. And remember to click the like button below and subscribe to the Facts Verse channel so you don’t miss any of our upcoming videos.
Stacy Keach Sr.
Walter Stacy Keach Sr., known professionally as Stacy Keach Sr, had a film and television career that lasted more than 50 years. He appeared in over 70 movies and TV shows between 1942 and 1997. He was also a member of the Peninsula Players summer theater programs in the 1930s.
His early television work included a 1955 episode of The Lone Ranger and the role of Sheriff Ben Mason in a 1957 episode of the western series Colt 45. He later appeared in Sugarfoot and The Californians, also both western series.
Keach is best known for being part of the Get Smart cast in the role of Carlson, a CONTROL scientist. He invented gadgets like the umbrella rifle and edible buttons in a parody of Q from the James Bond films.
By the time he took the role of Carlson, Keach was already the head of an industrial film company, a position he’d been in since 1948. He eventually gave up the role of Carlson because too many clients couldn’t reach him. When this happened, his response would be, “I’ve been working in the CONTROL labs.”
Keach died at the age of 88 on February 13, 2003, in Burbank, California, as a result of congestive heart failure.
Dick Gautier was an actor, comedian, singer and caricaturist. He started his career as a nightclub comic and singer, moving into theater in the early 1960s. He later became known for his caricatures of celebrities and wrote several how-to books on drawing and cartooning.
During the 1970s and 1980s, Gautier was a frequent panelist on many popular game shows, including Match Game, Family Feud, Liar’s Club, Password Plus, and Win, Lose or Draw. However, he’s best know for his TV roles as Robin Hood in the comedy series When Things Were Rotten and Hymie the Robot in Get Smart.
One piece of little-known trivia about Gautier’s career is that he was one of a handful of actors to take on the role of Batman. In 1973, Burt Ward and Yvonne Craig reprised their roles of Robin and Batgirl from the 1960s Batman television series for a public service announcement. Adam West, who played Batman on the show, declined to participate and Dick Gauthier stepped into the part.
Gauthier died on January 13, 2017, at the age of 85, after a long, unspecified illness.
Robert “King” Moody was born on December 6, 1929 in New York City. He appeared on many popular television series including Teenagers from Outer Space, Bonanza, The Bob Newhart Show, the Man from U.N.C.L.E., and Dragnet.
King Moody was the fifth actor to take on the role of Ronald McDonald in commercials for McDonald’s. He played that part for 16 years from 1969 to 1985. He’s best known for his role as Shtarker in Get Smart, the overzealous chief henchman of the villain Siegfried.
Moody died on February 7, 2001 at the age of 71.
Robert Karvelas was born on April 3, 1921 in New York City. His mother and Don Adam’s mother were sisters. While serving in the U.S. Marines, Karvelas was a Golden Gloves boxing champion and he later worked as a stockbroker.
When Adams helped create Get Smart, he gave his cousin several small uncredited parts to help keep him close. One of those roles was an assistant to The Chief, which eventually evolved into the role of Larabee.
Larabee went on to be just as bumbling as Maxwell Smart, if not more so. In one of the episode in Season 5, Smart says to the Chief, “People ask if Larabee and I are related.” Karvelas ended up appearing in all 5 season of the show.
After Get Smart, Karvelas joined Adams for another sitcom, The Partners, which ended up being canceled after a single season. He appeared in a few more bit parts before dropping out of acting in 1976. After that, he only appeared as Larabee in Get Smart’s two sequel movies.
Karvelas died at the age of 70, on December 5, 1991. He was buried at Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside, California.
Edward Platt was born on February 14, 1916 in Staten Island, New York. He attended a private school in Lake Placid, where he was a member of the ski jump team. He later studied at the Juilliard School and attended Princeton University but left after his freshman year to serve in the U.S. Army during World War II.
Platt was an operatically trained bass-baritone and debuted on Broadway in the Rodger and Hammerstein musical Allegro. His first movie role was in the 1955 film version of the same musical. That same year, he also appeared in Rebel Without a Cause alongside James Dean and Natalie Wood.
For the next several years, he appeared in various movies and television series, including Perry Mason, 77 Sunset Strip, Gunsmoke, Bonanza, and The Dick Van Dyke show. He’s best known for his role as The Chief in Get Smart.
In 1973, Platt raised money to produce one of the first independent color films shot entirely on video tape — Santee starring Glenn Ford. He recognized the advantages of using videotape during filming, only transferring to film later in the process.
On March 19, 1974, Platt was found dead in his apartment in Santa Monica at the age of 58. It was initially reported as being caused by a heart attack but his son later admitted his father had committed suicide after a long struggle with untreated depression.
Donald James Yarmy, known professionally as Don Adams, played the lead role of agent Maxwell Smart in the Get Smart series. He was born on April 13, 1923, in New York City, where he dropped out of high school to work as a theater usher.
During World War II, Adams joined the U.S. Marines and participated in the Battle of Guadalcanal in the Pacific Theater. His military career cut short when he contracted blackwater fever, a serious complication of malaria. He got hospitalize for more than a year, after which he served as a Marine drill instructor.
Adams’ work on television began in 1954, when his comedy act won on Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts. He made a number of appearances on The Steve Allen Show in the late 1950s, after which he was a regular on The Perry Como Show.
Mel Brooks creates Get Smart and Buck Henry as the comedic answer to popular spy dramas of the day. They initially wrote the show as a vehicle for Tom Poston to debut on the ABC network. When ABC turned it down, NBC picked it up and cast Adams as the main character because he was already under contract.
The show immediate hit when it debuted in 1965 thanks to Adams’ extreme portrayal of the character. His clipped speaking style and bumbling mannerisms were easy to imitate, making it a viral hit long before “going viral” was a thing.
Adams produced and directed 13 episodes of the show and nominated for Emmy awards 4 seasons in a row. He won the award 3 times.
Adams ended up as typecast in the role of Maxwell Smart and his later projects never reached the same level of popularity. But he had wisely taken a lower salary in exchange for a one-third ownership stake in Get Smart. So he received a regular income for many years because of the show’s popularity in reruns.
Don Adams died on September 25, 2005, at the age of 82. He suffered from lymphoma and a lung infection prior to his death.
Bernie Kopell, who played the role of Siegfried, is one of the last surviving Get Smart cast members. He was born on June 21, 1933, in Brooklyn, New York. He attended New York University, where he studied dramatic arts.
When he landed in Los Angeles, he initially drove a taxi and sold Kirby vacuum cleaners to make ends meet. He casted in a minor role in the daytime soap opera The Brighter Day on CBS. From there, he went onto roles in My Favorite Martian and The Jack Benny Program.
During the 1960s and 1970s, Kopell appeared on many popular television series including That Girl, Our Man Higgins, Green Acres, McHale’s Navy, and The Streets of San Francisco. He’s best known for two roles, however — Adam “Doc” Bricker on The Love Boat and the KAOS agent Siegfried on Get Smart.
Kopell is still acting in both film and television, appearing most recently in the series B Positive.
Barbara Feldon, who played the role of Agent 99, is the other surviving Get Smart cast member. She was born on March 12, 1933 in Bethel Park, Pennsylvania. Barbara graduated from Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1955 with a Bachelor of Arts in drama. She went on to win the grand prize on The $64,000 Question in 1957.
After working as a model for several years, she appeared in a commercial for “Top Brass” hair pomade for men. That led to various small television roles in the early 1960s including East Side/West Side with George C. Scott.
That show was produced by Talent Associates, which was also developing Get Smart with Mel Brooks and Buck Henry. Feldon was cast as Agent 99 in this new show, the role she would become best known for.
The character was unusual for its time, showing a capable woman handling a stressful career. Many women said Agent 99 was a role model for them because she was so smart and always got the right answer.