Nick Adams was far more a dreamer than "The Rebel" he would portray in his heyday. At 18 he hitchhiked to Hollywood to become a movie star. A quintessential self-promoter, he defied all odds in making his dream come true, but he could never seem to get out of his own way. His death, exploited by writers as one of Hollywood's dark mysteries, came by his own hand.
"Actor Nick Adams Dead In Mystery," read the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner headline on Feb. 8, 1968. The story reported:
Nick Adams, 36, who won fame as "The Rebel" on television, was found dead in his Coldwater Canyon home last night under circumstances that puzzled police.
His body, fully clothed, was found in a sitting position beside his bed by his attorney, Ervin "Tip" Roeder. There was no indication as to the cause of death. No weapons or sleeping pills were found. Adams's lawyer told Det. Verne Jones he arrived at the $54,000 Cape Cod style home bordering Beverly Hills about 8 p.m. When no one answered the doorbell, Roeder crawled through a window and discovered the body.
Nick Adams's death was the final, strangest chapter in a life and career that took many unusual turns.