Adam West, the iconic actor best-known for his portrayal of Batman in the live-action ’60s TV series, has passed away. He was 88.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, West died Friday night in Los Angeles following a short battle with leukemia, as confirmed by a family spokesperson. West died peacefully, surrounded by family, and is survived by his wife Marcelle, six children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
His family wrote in a statement, “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.”
In addition to starring on Batman, West appeared in such films as The Young Philadelphians, Robinson Crusoe on Mars, Redux Riding Hood, and saw a resurgence in recent years portraying the Mayor of Quahog on Family Guy.
He initially caught the attention of Batman producer William Dozier after his notable appearances as a James Bond-like character in Nestle’s Quik commercials. Upon reading the script for Batman, he signed the contract to star in the role on the spot. His one request was to have a say in the casting of his character’s sidekick, Robin, the Boy Wonder. Burt Ward would end up filling that role. The show premiered at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 12, 1966.
West intentionally portrayed Batman as a comedic character. He said his portrayal of Bruce Wayne was “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 recognize you.” The series was even nominated for outstanding comedy series at the Emmys its first year. However, the popularity of the show soon fizzled, and it was cancelled in March 1968 after its third season.
He returned to the role of Batman, voicing the character in such series as The New Adventures of Batman, SuperFriends: The Legendary Super Powers Show and The Simpsons. His most recent reprisal was for the direct-to-video animated film Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders.
West said at a Comic Con panel in 2014, “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.”
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