TV’s iconic Batman star Adam West has died, aged 88.
West (pictured, left) died Friday night in Los Angeles after a short battle with leukemia surrounded by his family.
“Our dad always saw himself as The Bright Knight and aspired to make a positive impact on his fans’ lives. He was and always will be our hero,” his family said in a statement.
West’s career spanned six decades, but nothing would eclipse his role as the caped crusader for just 3 seasons from 1966 to 1968.
He read the pilot script for producer William Dozier and knew after 20 pages that it was the kind of comedy he wanted to do. He signed a contract on the spot, only asking that he approve the casting of Robin the Boy Wonder, which went to Burt Ward (pictured, right). A feature was also released in September 1966.
West said that he played Batman “for laughs, but in order to do [that], one had to never think it was funny. You just had to pull on that cowl and believe that no one would recognise you.”
“You can’t play Batman in a serious, square-jawed, straight-ahead way without giving the audience the sense that there’s something behind that mask waiting to get out, that he’s a little crazed, he’s strange,” he once said.
Big screen credits included The Young Philadelphians, Robinson Crusoe on Mars, Redux Riding Hood, The Relentless Four, The Marriage of a Young Stockbroker, Geronimo, Tammy and the Doctor, The Outlaws Is Coming, and The Happy Hooker Goes Hollywood.
But West struggled to find work after Batman was cancelled, forced to make appearances at car shows and carnivals.
He returned to voice his iconic character in such cartoons as The New Adventures of Batman, Legends of the Superheroes, SuperFriends: The Legendary Super Powers Show and The Simpsons.
Other TV credits included Colt .45, Maverick, Hawaiian Eye, 77 Sunset Strip, Cheyenne, The Detectives, Diagnosis: Murder, Love American Style, Bonanza, The Big Valley, Night Gallery, Alias Smith and Jones, Mannix, Emergency!, Alice, Police Woman, Operation Petticoat, The American Girls, Vega$, Big Shamus Little Shamus, Laverne & Shirley, Bewitched, Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, Hart to Hart, Zorro, The King of Queens and George Lopez.
Seth MacFarlane later reached out to offer him a role in Family Guy.
“He asked if I would like to come aboard as the mayor, and I thought it would be neat to do something sort of absurd and fun.”
In February 2016, The Big Bang Theory marked the 50th anniversary of Batman with an appearance by West.
West once told a Comic-Con audience he thought Batman would be the end of him.
“I look around and I see the adults — I see you grew up with me, and you believe in the adventure. I never believed this would happen, that I would be up here with illustrious people like yourselves. I’m so grateful! I’m the luckiest actor in the world, folks, to have you still hanging around.”
Source: Hollywood Reporter