Adam West, in the mid-late 1960s Batman series as the Caped Crusader, has died after battling with leukemia surrounded by family Friday, June 9th, 2017. He was 88 in Los Angeles during his passing. Born William West Anderson in 1928 in Walla Walla, Wash., the actor later adopted his stage name, and began his career in earnest when he moved to Hawaii in the 1950s to star in a local children’s program.
“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, according to THR.
West made his feature debut in 1959’s “The Young Philadelphians,” starring Paul Newman. West portrayed the Caped Crusader on ABC’s “Batman” from 1966 to 1968, facing off against an all-star cast of villains including Burgess Meredith as The Penguin, Julie Newmar as Catwoman, Cesar Romero as Joker, and Frank Gorshin as Riddler. The campy version of the show was also adapted into a 1966 film, “Batman: The Movie.” The show’s ratings began to drop by 1968, however, and it was canceled that March after three seasons. Recently, West has played Quahog’s mayor on 111 episodes of Seth MacFarlane’s “Family Guy.”
Asked by Variety what the character of Batman has come to mean to him over five decades, West said: “Money. Some years ago I made an agreement with Batman. There was a time when Batman really kept me from getting some pretty good roles, and I was asked to do what I figured were important features. However, Batman was there, and very few people would take a chance on me walking on to the screen. And they’d be taking people away from the story. So I decided that since so many people love Batman, I might as well love it too. Why not? So I began to reengage myself with Batman. And I saw the comedy. I saw the love people had for it, and I just embraced it.”
He is survived by his wife Marcelle, six children, five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
Farewell, Adam West, you have been a beacon of light for many of your fans throughout the decades and you continue to inspire us. R.I.P.