Friday, April 29, 2005

'Lou Grant' Actor Mason Adams Dies at 86

He was also the voice behind the Smucker's jelly commercials.

The Associated Press has details:

Adams died Tuesday of natural causes, said his daughter, Betsy.

His distinctive, often fatherly voice was first heard in 1940s and 1950s radio serials, including "Batman" and "Pepper Young's Family." But he did not achieve fame until being cast as Charlie Hume in "Lou Grant," a spin-off of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" that ran from 1977 to 1982.

Adams earned three Emmy nominations for his work on the series.

He had small roles in several films, including "F/X" (1986) and "Houseguest" (1995), and worked steadily on stage in his later years. His last theater role was in the Broadway revival of Arthur Miller's "The Man Who Had All the Luck" in 2002.

He was also famous for his work in television commercials for J.M. Smucker Co., voicing the tag-line "With a name like Smucker's, it has to be good."

Adams was born in Brooklyn and received his master's degree from the University of Wisconsin.

My brother-in-law works for Smucker's out in California, so I have a fondness for anything connected to the company. But I always loved hearing Adams voice on anything he did, which included a number of documentaries not mentioned in the AP story. The voice was distinctive and always had a sort of jovial, everything-is-OK quality to it, even when Adams was delivering serious, dramatic lines.

Of course, I was/am a big fan of "Lou Grant" which presented a not-too-far-from-the-truth look inside a big-city daily newspaper newsroom. The show presented dilemmas faced in real newsrooms, including turf wars for certain stories, what to do about stories that might upset advertisers, what to do with breaking news, etc.