Actor. He is best remembered for his role of 'Johnny Yuma' in the television western series "The Rebel" (1959 to 1962). The studios molded his acting persona in the same "troubled young man" persona as his close friend, actor James Dean. Born in Nanticoke, Pennsylvania, he was raised in Garfield, New Jersey. After starting his acting career as an uncredited extra in the film "Somebody Loves Me" (1952), he joined the United States Coast Guard to avoid being drafted into the Army during the Korean War, and served three years. Leaving the military behind, he resumed his acting career with the film "Strange Lady in Town" (1955), and a number of less than notable films followed. In 1955, he became a close friend of actor James Dean, when the two of them worked on the movie "Rebel Without a Cause" (1955), and he was greatly upset when Dean was killed in an automobile accident in September 1955. For awhile after Dean's death, Adams would drive recklessly fast, and his grief-borne actions got him arrested nine times for speeding in one year, as well as making him a pariah with the studios, which he eventually overcame. After a successful stint in the television series "The Rebel" he won an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor in "Twilight of Honor" (1963), but Melvyn Douglas won the Oscar for his role in "Hud"(1963). Devastated by the loss of his Oscar, his acting career waned, and by the mid-1960s he was reduced to acting in low budget horror and science-fiction films such as "Monster Zero" (1966), "Frankenstein Conquers the World" (1966), and "Mission Mars" (1968). He died of an overdose of his prescription medication for a nervous disorder in his apartment in Beverly Hills, California, and many believe it was a suicide.
Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson