Mason Adams, Respected Character Actor of Stage, Radio, and TV's "Lou Grant," Dead at 86

Obituaries   Mason Adams, Respected Character Actor of Stage, Radio, and TV's "Lou Grant," Dead at 86 Mason Adams, the paternal theatre, film and TV character actor whose voice was so warm he was heard on commercials for Smucker's jams, died April 26 at age 86, according to The New York Times.
Mason Adams in The Man Who Had All The Luck at the Williamstown Theatre Festival
Mason Adams in The Man Who Had All The Luck at the Williamstown Theatre Festival Photo by Richard Feldman

He died of natural causes at his home on the Upper East Side, his daughter Betsy told the Times. For decades, TV viewers knew his famous gravelly line-reading for the J.M. Smucker Co.: "With a name like Smucker's…it has to be good."

Mr. Adams most recent Broadway appearance was in Arthur Miller's The Man Who Had All the Luck for Roundabout Theatre Company in 2002. His first Broadway role was in 1957's A Shadow of My Enemy.

In a stage career that included regional and Off-Broadway work he also appeared in Signature Theatre's The Last of the Thorntons by Horton Foote, Circle Repertory Theatre's The Rose Quartet, Manhattan Theatre Club's The Day Room and Lincoln Center Theatre's Danger: Memory! and The Shortchanged Review.

He is remembered as the thoughtful and experienced Ben Bradley-like managing editor Charlie Hume on "Lou Grant." (A generation of journalism students viewed Hume as a sort of mentor, a fictional standard to reach for.) For his work on the newspaper drama, Mr. Adams was nominated for three Emmy Awards.

Mr. Adams' other Broadway credits include Checking Out, The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window, The Trial of the Catonsville Nine and Tall Story.

The actor was known for his grandfatherly presence in recent years. In the 1940s and '50s, he had roles in radio dramas such as "Pepper Young's Family" (he was Pepper Young). His voice would be heard for decades on commercials and documentaries.

In 1989, he starred in his own TV series, "Knight & Daye," as Everett Daye, opposite Jack Warden, who played Henry Knight.

Mr. Adams, a Brookyln native, earned a master's degree from the University of Wisconsin and later taught at The Neighborhood Playhouse, the Times reported.

He is survived by his wife, Margo Fineberg, daughter Betsy and son Bill.

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