Mason Adams

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Mason Adams
Adams in 1977
Born(1919-02-26)February 26, 1919[1]
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
DiedApril 26, 2005(2005-04-26) (aged 86)
Manhattan, New York, U.S.
Alma materUniversity of Wisconsin–Madison
Years active1940–2003
Margot Feinberg
(m. 1957)

Mason Adams (born Mason Abrams;[2] February 26, 1919 – April 26, 2005) was an American actor.[3] From the late 1940s until the early 1970s, he was heard in numerous radio programs and voiceovers for countless television commercials, the latter of which he resumed in the 1980s and 1990s. In the early '70s, he moved into acting and from 1977 to 1983 held perhaps his best-known role, that of Managing Editor Charlie Hume on Lou Grant. He also acted in numerous other television and movie roles, most prominently Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981) and F/X (1986).

Early life[edit]

Adams was born in Brooklyn, New York, and grew up in Sheepshead Bay.[4][5] His father, Morris, was an immigrant from Russia and the owner of a company that made machinery and factory tools. His mother, the former Freda Sugarman, was also an immigrant from Russia.[5] He studied at the University of Wisconsin, earning a bachelor’s degree in theater and speech in 1940, and a master’s degree in theater arts in 1941. He later studied acting at New York City's Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre, where he also taught speech.[3][6] He made his stage debut in 1940, appearing in summer stock at Baltimore's Hilltop Theater.[7]


Adams was heard on many radio programs during Radio's Golden Age. A notable recurring role of his was that of Pepper Young in Pepper Young's Family,[8] which aired from 1947 to 1959. He also portrayed the deadly Nazi Atom Man in a classic 1945 serial on the radio version of The Adventures of Superman.

During the '60s, Adams was ubiquitous as a voiceover actor in television commercials for foods and household products, most notably for Chiffon margarine, Crest toothpaste ("Helps stop cavities before they start") and French's food products (French's Mustard was "the best thing that happened since man first bit dog"). He also did the vocal part of the television commercials for Smucker's preserves ("With a name like Smucker's, it has to be good!"), a role he resumed in his later years.

His voiceover work resumed in the '80s when he began providing the voiceover for Cadbury's Creme Eggs, which were advertised on television with Adams' catchy slogan, "Nobunny knows Easter better than him [the Cadbury Bunny]." Also in the '80s, Adams did voiceover TV commercials for Sherwin-Williams Paints, and radio commercials for the Salvation Army. In addition, Adams was the narrator for Kix commercials in the '90s and a few Dentyne and Swanson commercials. He was also the announcer for a 1992 WCBS-TV news promotion and a 1986 Lysol commercial. In the early '90s, he narrated Frontiers of Flight, a Discovery Channel series on milestones of aviation.

During the 1970s, Adams was a co-star of the NBC soap opera Another World, and in 1976, he was in the original 1976 Broadway cast for Checking Out. Following that, he landed perhaps his most famous role, Managing Editor Charlie Hume in the television series Lou Grant, which aired from 1977 to 1982. Appearing in the show for its entire run, he landed three straight Emmy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor in 1979, 1980, and 1981, each year alongside his Lou Grant co-star Robert Walden, who played reporter Joe Rossi. During his run on Lou Grant, Adams performed perhaps his most often-seen role, as the US president in Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981). He also appeared in popular TV movies, such as The Deadliest Season (1977), Revenge of the Stepford Wives (1980), and The Kid with the Broken Halo (1982).

In 1983, Adams joined The Mirror Theater Ltd's repertory company for their first season, appearing in Paradise Lost, Rain, Inheritors, and The Hasty Heart.[9] This season was presented initially off-off-Broadway at the Real Stage Acting School, and was moved off-Broadway to the Theatre at St. Peter's Church. In 1986, he starred as Col. Edward Mason, one of his most famous feature-film roles, in the movie F/X starring Bryan Brown and Brian Dennehy, and in 1991, he appeared in the action movie Toy Soldiers.

In 1993, Adams starred as Walter Warner Sr., in the movie Son in Law starring Pauly Shore, and then had roles in Houseguest (1995), Touch (1997), and The Lesser Evil (1998). In the 1998 HBO miniseries From the Earth to the Moon, he played Senator Clinton P. Anderson. His final role was in the series finale of Oz.

Radio career[edit]

Mason Adams played many characters in Old-Time Radio programs, among them:

Christmas recording[edit]

Adams played Mack in the episode "Miracle for Christmas" of the Grand Central Station radio series. In the story, Mack is an ambulance driver in a poor neighborhood, who drives an intern who turns out to be more than a doctor. It was repeated for six years out of popularity, and is still considered a classic from the Radio Golden Era.

Adams achieved a bit of holiday immortality by taking part in a comedy spoof of "The Twelve Days of Christmas", called "The Chickens Are in the Chimes" (RCA Victor 74-8277, 1963). Recorded by Sascha Burland and the Skipjack Choir, with Adams as the lead voice, this recording was issued in 1963 on a 45 rpm record, but has never been released on compact disc. The recording for the "B" side was "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas". "The Chickens Are in the Chimes" has often been played over radio stations at Christmas, and became a holiday favorite ever since.

Personal life and death[edit]

Adams was the older brother of Dr. Herbert L. Abrams, a radiologist who helped to found International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985.[5]

Adams married Margot Fineberg in 1958. The couple had a daughter, Betsy, and a son, Bill. Adams died on April 26, 2005, from natural causes.[3]



Year Title Role Notes
1947 Mr. Bell Thomas Watson Short Film
1975 The Happy Hooker The Banker with Chris
1976 God Told Me To Obstetrician
1977 Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure Grandpa (voice)
1981 Omen III: The Final Conflict President
1986 F/X Colonel Mason
1991 Toy Soldiers Deputy Director Brown
1993 Son in Law Walter Warner Sr.
1995 Houseguest Mr. Pike
Not of This Earth Dr. Rochelle
1997 Touch Father Nestor
Hudson River Blues Grandpa
1998 The Lesser Evil Derek's Father
1999 Life Among the Cannibals Francis


Year Title Role Notes
1951 Love of Life Dr. Carl Westheimer
1954 The Man Behind the Badge Conrad Episode: "The Case of the Phantom Fire"
1955 Robert Montgomery Presents Mr. Watkins Episode: "A Matter of Dignity"
Armstrong Circle Theatre Episode: "TV or Not TV"
1958 Decoy Bill Wendover Episode: "Odds Against the Jockey"
The Phil Silvers Show GI Engineer Walter Maxwell Episode: "Bilko the Genius"; uncredited
1959 Startime Radio Actor Episode: "The Wonderful World of Entertainment"
Deadline Rossoff Episode: "The Blue Dahlia"
1964 Another World Dr. Frank Prescott
1969 Where the Heart Is Judge Halstad
1977 The Deadliest Season Bill Cavins TV movie
1977—1982 Lou Grant Charlie Hume 114 episodes
1979 And Baby Makes Six Dr. Eliot Losen TV movie
A Shining Season Dr. Ed Johnson TV movie
1980 The Last Resort Dr. Sternhagen Episode: "Is There a Doctor in the House?"
Flamingo Road Elmo Tyson Episode: "Pilot"
Murder Can Hurt You! Willie the Wino TV movie
Revenge of the Stepford Wives Wally TV movie
1981 Rise and Shine Episode: "Pilot"
The Love Boat Richard Simmons Episode: "Country Blues / Daddy's Little Girl / Jackpot"
Peking Encounter Clyde TV movie
1982 The Kid with the Broken Halo Harry Tannenbaum TV movie
The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat The Cat in the Hat / Narrator (voice) TV Short
1983 Freedom to Speak 7 episodes
Adam Ray Mellette TV movie
Great Day Narrator (voice) TV movie
1984 Passions Ron Sandler TV movie
American Playhouse Ford Episode: "Solomon Northup's Odyssey"
The Night They Saved Christmas Sumner Murdock TV movie
1985 CBS Storybreak Narrator (voice) Episode: "Arnold of the Ducks"
1986 Under Siege Geoffrey Wiggins TV movie
Morningstar/Eveningstar Gordon Blair 7 episodes
Walt Disney World: A Dream Come True Narrator TV special
You Are the Jury Dr. Parke Episode: "The State of Arizona vs. Dr. Evan Blake"
Northstar Dr. Karl Janss TV movie
Who Is Julia? Dr. Gordon TV movie
Rage of Angels: The Story Continues Father Francis Ryan TV movie
Family Ties Professor Lloyd Rhodes Episode: "Paper Lion"
1987 The Hope Division Peter Braden TV movie
1988 Matlock Bob Ranier Episode: "The Heiress"
1989 Murder, She Wrote Roger Philby Episode: "The Search for Peter Kerry"
A Quiet Conspiracy General Luther B. Novak Episode: "Episode #1.1"
Knight & Daye Everett Daye 7 episodes
It All Started with a Mouse: The Disney Story Narrator (voice) TV movie
1990 Whip Valentine TV movie
WIOU Hal Krasner Episode: "Do the Wrong Thing"
Monsters Doctor Episode: "A New Woman"
1991 Perry Mason: The Case of the Maligned Mobster Frank Halloran TV movie
Family Matters Judge Vance Episode: "Citizen's Court"
Rockenwagner Rory Carmichael TV movie
1992 Civil Wars Judge Toffinetti Episode: "Chute First, Ask Questions Later"
Screenplay Bob Rutherford Episode: "Buying a Landslide"
Jonathan: The Boy Nobody Wanted Judge Colbert TV movie
1993 Class of '96 President Harris Episode: "Pilot"
1994 Assault at West Point: The Court-Martial of Johnson Whittaker Henry D. Hyde TV movie
1997 Murder One Sidney Pomerantz Episode: "Chapter Thirteen, Year Two"
Murder One: Diary of a Serial Killer Sidney Pomerantz 6 episodes; Mini series
Metropolitan Hospital TV movie
1998 From the Earth to the Moon Clinton Anderson Episode: "Apollo One"
Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction Mr. Trapwell 2 episodes
1999 The West Wing Justice Joseph Crouch Episode: "The Short List"
2003 Oz Mr. Hoyt Episode: "Exeunt Omnes"; final role


  1. ^ Douglass K. Daniel (1996). Lou Grant: The Making of TV's Top Newspaper Drama. Syracuse University Press. pp. 43–. ISBN 978-0-8156-0363-4.
  2. ^ "Adams (Mason) papers". Retrieved January 12, 2023.
  3. ^ a b c Fahim, Kareem (April 28, 2005). "Mason Adams, an Actor Lauded for Role on 'Lou Grant,' Dies at 86". The New York Times. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  4. ^ Bloom, Nate (May 20, 2005). "Celebrity Jews". The Jewish News Weekly of Northern California. Retrieved December 13, 2006.
  5. ^ a b c Grimes, William (January 28, 2016). "Dr. Herbert L. Abrams, Who Worked Against Nuclear War, Dies at 95". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 12, 2023.
  6. ^ McLellan, Dennis (April 29, 2005). "Mason Adams, 86; Played Managing Editor on 'Lou Grant,' Was TV Voice of Smucker's". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 12, 2023.
  7. ^ Mason Adams Biography - Yahoo! Movies
  8. ^ "Lou Grant". Valley Morning Star. Valley Morning Star. September 18, 1977. p. 123. Retrieved June 11, 2015 – via open access
  9. ^ Gussow, Mel (March 11, 1984). "Theater: Mirror Rep, in a Revivsl of 'Rain'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 7, 2023.
  10. ^ a b Sies, Luther F. (2014). Encyclopedia of American Radio, 1920–1960, 2nd Edition, Volume 1. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0786451494. p. 12.

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