Eric McCormack (search) was a childhood fan of the '60s comedy series "Get Smart" starring Don Adams (search) as bumbling secret agent Maxwell Smart, aka Agent 86.

When he realized "there really wasn't an Agent 86, that it was an actor playing it and won Emmys and made money," he decided to become an actor, McCormack told The Associated Press on Monday.

Years later, the Emmy-winning "Will & Grace" (search) star told Adams that he was the inspiration for his career.

Adams died Sunday at age 82 of a lung infection.

Two years ago, McCormack said, there was a golden moment at a "Get Smart" (search) panel that he attended as a fan. An audience member asked about the possibility of a movie based on "Get Smart," which aired from 1965 to 1970.

In recounting the story, McCormack put on his Maxwell Smart voice and said Adams answered by saying, "I will tell you this: If they ever make it, I hope Eric plays me."

McCormack said he heard the crowd muttering, "Eric who?" — not realizing that he was in the audience.

A "Get Smart" movie is on the drawing board, but it is to star Steve Carell (search).