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Film, stage actress Cecily Adams, 46, born in Jamaica

TimesLedger Newspapers

Actress Cecily Adams was born in Jamaica Feb. 6, 1958, to singer Adelaide Efantis and actor Don Adams, of “Get Smart” fame.

Adams’ younger sister is the actress and television executive Stacey Adams. Her parents had divorced several months before her birth, and she led a peripatetic childhood in such far-off places as Costa Rica, Italy and Maryland before finally settling with her father and stepmother in Beverly Hills.

Perhaps best known for her Ferengi character Ishka in the TV series “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” she also directed or acted in series including “Simon & Simon,” “Murphy Brown” and “Home Improvement.” She died in 2004 at the age of 46.

After moving to California, the Queens native attended Beverly Hills High School, where she was a classmate of another future star, Nicolas Cage. At this stage in her life, she became interested in acting and involved in theater in her college days at the University of California-Irvine. Following graduation, she supported herself waitressing and working as a clown while pursuing her first big break in acting.

The young Adams was doubly blessed in her chosen career, as she landed casting opportunities with a succession of directors while appearing in small acting roles. She even began to appear on stage in the 1980s in performances such as “Two on the Aisle for Murder” and “Pressing Engagements,” where she met her husband, Jim Beaver.

On the silver screen, her starring role in the 1991 drama “Little Secrets” propelled the film to a Silver Medal at the Houston Film Festival.

The talented actress reached the peak of her television popularity with her role in “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.” Her heavily made-up, costumed Ferengi character was in fact nine years younger than her son Quark on the show, played by actor Armin Shimerman. She was also a frequent attraction at Star Trek fan gatherings around the country.

The actress remained active in the 1990s, making numerous television appearances in “Just Shoot Me,” “Party of Five” and “Melrose Place” and reunited with her father in the TV movie “Get Smart Again.” At this stage of her career, the versatile Adams also became active in the comedy improvisational troupes The Groundlings and Acme Comedy Theatre.

She was also an acting coach to others aspiring in her trade. Not satisfied with treading the boards, as a lyricist she penned pop songs, commercial jingles and TV show theme songs. In 2001, Adams added perhaps her most important job title, becoming a mother when she gave birth to her only child, daughter Madeline.

A life filled with talent, fame and adoring fans was, however, not to be blessed with longevity. In 2003, the actress of stage and screen, mentor to others and mother was diagnosed with lung cancer in spite of never having smoked.

Desperate to survive long enough to raise Madeline, Adams submitted herself to experimental and painful cancer treatments to fight the disease, which was in an advanced stage. She lost her struggle four months after her diagnosis, dying in her sleep in March 2004.

Her husband’s memoir, “Life’s That Way,” memorializes her tireless fight and their last few months together.

For more information, call the 718-278-0700 or visit astorialic.org.

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