Born Nicholas Adamschock to a coal-mining family in Nanticoke, Pennsylvania, on July 10, 1931, Nick Adams' early life was hard-scrabble, as it was with many Depression-era families. In the mid 1930s, he relocated to Jersey City, New Jersey, where Adams lived out the remainder of his youth and attended college. By the time he graduated, Adams had decided on an acting career and hitchhiked from New Jersey to Hollywood. After a series of odd jobs and a stint in the Coast Guard, Adams made his motion picture debut in the Warner Bros. western Strange Lady in Town (1955; with Greer Garson and Dana Andrews) and followed this up by landing a role in Mister Roberts (1955; with Henry Fonda), a strong beginning for his career. He continued this streak in Rebel Without a Cause (1955; with James Dean) and Our Miss Brooks (1956; with Eve Arden). After a slew of movie roles and appearances on television, Adams was cast in the lead role in the ABC television western The Rebel (1959-1961). A total of 78 episodes were shot before ABC pulled the plug on the show in 1961. Actress Carol Nugent made a guest appearance on the show early in the first season, and after a whirlwind courtship, she and Adams married in Las Vegas in May 1959. The couple welcomed a daughter in 1960 and a son in 1961.

Nick Adams, Mickey Hargitay, and Joe Louis

Nick Adams was an avid fitness buff. In this early 1960s photo, he is pictured with Mickey Hargitay and Joe Louis

In 1962, Adams tried his hand at another television series, this time the hour-long drama Saints and Sinners on NBC. However, this show was canceled in early 1963 after a half-season of episodes had aired. He was also taking on film roles in such movies as The Interns (1962; with Cliff Robertson) and The Hook (1963; with Kirk Douglas). Adams was nominated for an Oscar for best actor in a supporting role for Twilight of Honor (1963; with Richard Chamberlain).

the films of nick adams

Our Miss Brooks (1956)

Nick Adams, Robert Rockwell, and Eve ArdenDon Porter, Nick Adams, and Eve Arden

From the Warner Bros. comedy Our Miss Brooks, a theatrically released film that included most of the cast members from the CBS TV series. LEFT: With Robert Rockwell and Eve Arden. RIGHT: With Don Porter and Eve Arden

A Strange Adventure (1956)

Marla English, Ben Cooper, and Nick Adams

With Marla English and Ben Cooper in the Republic crime drama A Strange Adventure

Fury at Showdown (1957)

Nick Adams and John Derek

With John Derek in the western Fury at Showdown

The Rebel (1959-1961 ABC TV Series)

Nick Adams

Promotional shot of Adams as Johnny Yuma in the ABC TV western The Rebel

The Hook (1963)

Nick Adams and Kirk Douglas

With Kirk Douglas in the MGM war drama The Hook

Twilight of Honor (1963)

Nick Adams and Joey Heatherton

Nick Adams was nominated for an Oscar for his supporting role in the MGM drama Twilight of Honor, his last big role in an A picture. Also pictured is Joey Heatherton, who portrayed Adams' wife in the film

The Young Lovers (1964)

Nick Adams, Deborah Walley, and Peter Fonda

With Deborah Walley and Peter Fonda in the MGM college student drama The Young Lovers

Die, Monster, Die! (1965)

Nick Adams and Suzan Farmer

From the American International horror flick Die, Monster, Die! with Suzan Farmer

Frankenstein Conquers the World (1965)

Nick Adams

From the Toho horror film Frankenstein Conquers the World, released by American International

Young Dillinger (1965)

Robert Conrad, Mary Ann Mobley, Nick Adams, and John AshleyNick Adams, Robert Conrad, and John AshleyHelen Stephens, Dan Terranova, Beverly Powers, Robert Conrad, Nick Adams, Mary Ann Mobley, John Ashley, and Joy Harmon

Images from the Allied Artists release Young Dillinger. LEFT and CENTER: Adams portrays the title character alongside John Ashley as Baby Face Nelson and Robert Conrad as Pretty Boy Floyd. The left photo includes Mary Ann Mobley. RIGHT: With Helen Stephens, Dan Terranova, Beverly Powers, Robert Conrad, Mary Ann Mobley, John Ashley, and Joy Harmon

Fever Heat (1968)

Nick AdamsNick Adams and Jeannine Riley

From the low-budget stock-car actioner Fever Heat, distributed by Paramount. LEFT: Adams as Ace Jones. RIGHT: With Jeannine Riley

later years

Despite strong supporting roles in A pictures and leads in B films, Adams' career went into decline by the mid 1960s, perhaps in part due to bad press regarding his tumultuous personal life. In addition, his marriage to Carol Nugent had unraveled, and the couple began on-and-off divorce proceedings. His career slide saw him being offered roles almost exclusively in low-budget movies, such as Young Dillinger (1965; with Robert Conrad, John Ashley, and Joy Harmon) and Frankenstein Conquers the World (1965), and film roles dwindled in 1966. However, by late 1967 his career was once again looking up; Adams was making guest appearances on popular TV shows such as The Wild Wild West and Hondo, and his film output improved with starring roles in such B movies as Fever Heat (1968; with Jeannine Riley) and Mission Mars (1968; with Darren McGavin). Sadly, Adams was found dead at age 36 on February 7, 1968, in his Beverly Hills home, likely due to a prescription drug overdose. He was survived by his estranged wife and son and daughter.

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Los Asesinos (1968) with Amadee Chabot
Mission Mars (1968) with Darren McGavin
Fever Heat (1968) with Jeannine Riley and Vaughn Taylor
The Killing Bottle (1967)
Mosby's Marauders (1967) with James MacArthur, Kurt Russell, Peggy Lipton, Jeanne Cooper, Michael Forest, and Robert Random
Don't Worry, We'll Think of a Title (1966) with Morey Amsterdam, Rose Marie, and Richard Deacon
Godzilla vs. Monster Zero (1965)
Die, Monster, Die! (1965) with Boris Karloff and Suzan Farmer
Frankenstein Conquers the World (1965)
Young Dillinger (1965) with Robert Conrad, John Ashley, Mary Ann Mobley, Joy Harmon, Beverly Powers, Victor Buono, John Hoyt, Reed Hadley, and Ted Knight
The Young Lovers (1964) with Peter Fonda and Deborah Walley
Twilight of Honor (1963) with Richard Chamberlain, Claude Rains, Joan Blackman, James Gregory, Joey Heatherton, Pat Buttram, Jeanette Nolan, Don 'Red' Barry, and Linda Evans
The Hook (1963) with Kirk Douglas and Robert Walker Jr.
A Girl Named Tamiko (1962) with Laurence Harvey, France Nuyen, Martha Hyer, Gary Merrill, Michael Wilding, and Steve Brodie
The Interns (1962) with Michael Callan, Cliff Robertson, James MacArthur, Suzy Parker, Anne Helm, Stefanie Powers, Buddy Ebsen, Telly Savalas, Francine York, and Kay Stevens
Hell Is for Heroes (1962) with Steve McQueen, Bobby Darin, Fess Parker, Harry Guardino, James Coburn, L.Q. Jones, and Bob Newhart
The FBI Story (1959) with James Stewart, Vera Miles, Murray Hamilton, Larry Pennell, Diane Jergens, and Parley Baer
Pillow Talk (1959) with Rock Hudson, Doris Day, Tony Randall, Thelma Ritter, Julia Meade, and Hayden Rorke
No Time for Sergeants (1958) with Andy Griffith, Murray Hamilton, Will Hutchins, Don Knotts, Dub Taylor, and Raymond Bailey
Teacher's Pet (1958) with Clark Gable, Doris Day, Gig Young, Mamie Van Doren, Peter Baldwin, Marion Ross, Charles Lane, and Jack Albertson
Sing, Boy, Sing (1958) with Tommy Sands, Edmond O'Brien, John McIntire, Diane Jergens, Jerry Paris, and Regis Toomey
Fury at Showdown (1957) with John Derek, John Smith, Carolyn Craig, and Gage Clarke
The Last Wagon (1956) with Richard Widmark, Felicia Farr, Susan Kohner, Tommy Rettig, and Ken Clark
A Strange Adventure (1956) with Joan Evans, Ben Cooper, Marla English, and Jan Merlin
Our Miss Brooks (1956) with Eve Arden, Gale Gordon, Don Porter, Robert Rockwell, and Richard Crenna
Picnic (1955) with William Holden, Kim Novak, Susan Strasberg, Cliff Robertson, Arthur O'Connell, Raymond Bailey, and Rosalind Russell
Rebel Without a Cause (1955) with James Dean, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo, Jim Backus, Ann Doran, William Hopper, Rochelle Hudson, Dennis Hopper, and Edward Platt
Mister Roberts (1955) with Henry Fonda, James Cagney, William Powell, Jack Lemmon, Betsy Palmer, Ward Bond, Philip Carey, Martin Milner, and Ken Curtis
Strange Lady in Town (1955) with Greer Garson, Dana Andrews, Cameron Mitchell, Adele Jergens, Russell Johnson, and Gregory Walcott

Saints and Sinners, 1962-1963 NBC TV series. Adams portrayed Nick Alexander
The Rebel, 1959-1961 ABC TV series. Adams portrayed Johnny Yuma

The Wild Wild West, episode The Night of the Vipers, originally aired January 12, 1968
Hondo, episode Hondo and the Apache Trail, originally aired December 22, 1967
Hondo, episode Hondo and the Apache Kid, originally aired October 13, 1967
Combat!, episode The Masquers, originally aired February 14, 1967
The Monroes, episode Gun Bound, originally aired January 25, 1967
The Wild Wild West, episode The Night of the Two-Legged Buffalo, originally aired March 11, 1966
Ben Casey, episode Three Li'l Lambs, originally aired March 29, 1965
Burke's Law, episode Who Killed Wimbledon Hastings?, originally aired February 3, 1965
Rawhide, episode Corporal Dasovik, originally aired December 4, 1964
Burke's Law, episode Who Killed Merlin the Great?, originally aired December 2, 1964
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, episode Turn Back the Clock, originally aired October 26, 1964
Burke's Law, episode Who Killed Mr. Cartwheel?, originally aired October 21, 1964
The Reporter, episode How Much for a Prince?, originally aired October 9, 1964
The Outer Limits, episode Fun and Games, originally aired March 30, 1964
Arrest and Trial, episode A Roll of the Dice, originally aired February 23, 1964
Burke's Law, episode Who Killed Eleanora Davis?, originally aired December 20, 1963
77 Sunset Strip, episode By His Own Verdict, originally aired November 15, 1963
Burke's Law, episode Who Killed Billy Jo?, originally aired November 8, 1963
Combat!, episode Bridgehead, originally aired September 24, 1963
G.E. True Theater, episode The First Hundred Years, originally aired May 27, 1962
The Dick Powell Theatre, episode Savage Sunday, originally aired May 1, 1962
Checkmate, episode A Chant of Silence, originally aired March 21, 1962
Wagon Train, episode The Traitor, originally aired December 13, 1961
G.E. True Theater, episode A Voice on the Phone, originally aired November 19, 1961
The Dick Powell Theatre, episode Who Killed Julie Greer?, originally aired September 26, 1961
The David Niven Show, episode Portrait, originally aired June 16, 1959
Trackdown, episode The Trick, originally aired April 15, 1959
Tales of Wells Fargo, episode The Tired Gun, originally aired March 30, 1959
Trackdown, episode The Gang, originally aired February 25, 1959
Zane Grey Theater, episode A Thread of Respect, originally aired February 12, 1959
Yancy Derringer, episode The Night the Russians Landed, originally aired January 29, 1959
Steve Canyon, episode Operation Crash Landing, originally aired December 6, 1958
The Loretta Young Show, episode Out of Control, originally aired November 2, 1958
Cimarron City, episode Twelve Guns, originally aired November 1, 1958
Wanted: Dead or Alive, episode The Martin Poster, originally aired September 6, 1958
Trackdown, episode The Winter Boys, originally aired April 11, 1958
Wagon Train, episode The Marie Dupree Story, originally aired March 19, 1958
Richard Diamond, Private Detective, episode Juvenile Jacket, originally aired March 13, 1958
Zane Grey Theater, episode Sundown at Bitter Creek, originally aired February 14, 1958
Playhouse 90, episode The Troublemakers, originally aired November 21, 1957
The People's Choice, episode Sock and Augie, originally aired January 12, 1956

nick adams film now showing

Watch Nick Adams in a 1963 episode of Stump the Stars
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