Adams was born Mason Abrams in Brooklyn, New York. He earned an MA 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.
Adams married Margot Fineberg in 1958. The couple had a daughter, Betsy, and a son, Bill. He died on April 26, 2005, from natural causes, according to his daughter.
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