On Friday night, Adam West, a US actor best known for his role as Batman in 1960s television series Batman, died at the age of 88 in Los Angeles, his family spokesperson said. Before his death, West “fought a short but brave battle with leukemia”, his family said via Facebook.
Actors Ben Affleck, Val Kilmer, and Mark Hamill, comic book writer Frank Miller, Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane as well as author Neil Gaiman paid tribute to Adam West via Twitter. Affleck and Kilmer portrayed the titular character in, the 2016 film Batman v Superman and the 1995 film Batman Forever respectively.
Burt Ward, who played the role of Batman’s sidekick Robin in the TV series with West, paid tribute via The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Julie Newmar, who played the role of Catwoman in the 1960s show, paid tribute as well via the BBC World Service radio program Newshour. DC Entertainment president and CEO Geoff Johns and publisher Jim Lee paid tribute via DC Comics’s official blog.
Adam West, younger of the two brothers, was born on September 19, 1928 in Washington. His father was a wheat farmer and his mother was a pianist and an opera singer. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in English literature from Whitman College and worked as a station master at Stanford while he was a graduate student.
West worked at McClatchy station in Sacramento, California before moving to Hawaii, where he hosted a weekday show in the late 1950s. He moved to Hollywood, California in 1959 and signed a contract with Warner Bros. He appeared in multiple series before portraying Detective Sergeant Steve Nelson in the 1959–62 television series, The Detectives, from 1961 to 1962. His film debut was the 1959 film The Young Philadelphians, starring Paul Newman. Before Batman, West appeared in many films throughout the 1960s.
Lyle Waggoner and Adam West auditioned for the role of Batman while Peter Deyell and Burt Ward auditioned for the role of Robin. Batman TV series debuted on January 12, 1966 on the ABC network. Though the first season was a success, two subsequent seasons had a significant drop in the Nielsen ratings, and it was cancelled in March 1968.
After Batman, West was given typecast roles throughout his career. He voiced Batman in animated shows, like The New Adventures of Batman, Legends of the Superheroes, and Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show. He also voiced a role in an Academy Award-nominated 1997 short film Redux Riding Hood. He also voiced the role of Mayor Adam West in Family Guy, which MacFarlane called an “alternative universe” version of West.
West married Marcelle in 1970; each had two children from their previous marriages. After the marriage, the couple had two children. West is survived by his wife Marcelle, six children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.