Adams was born in Cambridge. When he was a few months old he moved to East London and a few years later to Brentwood, Essex. He originally received attention when he wrote for the popular TV shows Monty Python and Doctor Who in the 1970s. In 1979, he wrote a science fiction radio play called The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It was later turned into a novel, then in the early 1980s, it became a TV miniseries, and in 2005, it became a film produced by Disney. He also wrote several sequels. Douglas was also known for his humorous detective novels starring Dirk Gentley, and for his efforts to conserve endangered species. He was an atheist. In 2001, Adams died of a heart attack while he was working out at the gym.