Mason Adams

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

Mason Adams (February 26, 1919 – April 26, 2005) was an American character actor and voiceover artist.[2] From the late 1940s until the early 1970s, he was heard in numerous radio programs and voiceovers for 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 1982 held perhaps his most 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.[3] He earned a [[master of arts degree from the University of Michigan in theatre arts and speech, and also attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison, studying theater arts. He made his stage debut in 1940, appearing in summer stock at Baltimore's Hilltop Theater.[4]


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,[5] 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 and Crest toothpaste ("Helps stop cavities before they start"). 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. In one of the early episodes of Sesame Street, he voiced a cartoon featuring a "jazzy" triangle and a "square" square. He voiced those two, as well as being the narrator, with jazz music in the background. This cartoon was repeated on the show for many years, well into the '80s.

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.[6] 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 married Margot Fineberg in 1958. The couple had a daughter, Betsy, and a son, Bill. Adams died on April 26, 2005, from natural causes.[8]

Partial filmography[edit]


  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. ^ Fahim, Kareem (28 April 2005). "Mason Adams, an Actor Lauded for Role on 'Lou Grant,' Dies at 86". NY Times.
  3. ^ Bloom, Nate (2005-05-20). "Celebrity Jews". The Jewish News Weekly of Northern California. Retrieved 2006-12-13.
  4. ^ Mason Adams Biography - Yahoo! Movies
  5. ^ "Lou Grant". Valley Morning Star. September 18, 1977. p. 123. Retrieved June 11, 2015 – via open access
  6. ^ Gussow, Mel. "THEATER: MIRROR REP, IN A REVIVAL OF 'RAIN'." The New York Times. The New York Times, 10 Mar. 1984. Web. 10 Jan. 2017. <>.
  7. ^ a b Sies, Luther F. (2014). Encyclopedia of American Radio, 1920-1960, 2nd Edition, Volume 1. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-5149-4. P. 12.
  8. ^ Mason Adams, an Actor Lauded for Role on 'Lou Grant,' Dies at 86

External links[edit]