Adam West, Iconic ‘Batman’ TV Star, Dies at 88
Adam West has passed away. A rep confirmed that the actor, most known for his iconic portrayal of Batman in the 1960s television series, lost his battle with leukemia Friday evening, June 9. He was 88.
"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 shared in a statement.
Premiered on ABC in 1966, Batman was a surprise hit, and quickly became an iconic image of '60s entertainment. More kitschy, colorful and playful in tone that later darker iterations, like Tim Burton's Batman films and Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight film series, West's grandiloquent Batman brought joy and laughter to a generation of comic book lovers and television viewers.
Born William West Anderson in Walla Walla on Sept. 19, 1928, West made his feature film debut in 1959’s The Young Philadelphians, alongside Paul Newman, and would later star in films like Geronimo (1962), Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964) and alongside The Three Stooges in The Outlaws Is Coming (1965). However, his role as the classic DC caped crusader would prove to be somewhat of a thorn in his acting career, making it largely difficult for West to be taken serious as an actor.
Thankfully, he would eventually embrace the character and the community around the series, as well as the larger comic-loving fandom, who embraced him. West would later lend his voice to shows like The Fairly OddParents, The Simpsons, Family Guy and Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders, as well as make numerous appearances at conventions like Comic-Con.
In 2016, seaking to Variety about what Batman had "come to mean to him over five decades," the actor quipped, "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," he added. "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."
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