Adams West — both defined and typecast by the role of the 1960s superhero — has died at the age of 88. West died Friday in Los Angeles after a short battle with leukemia, said his representative.
“Our father was always looking to project a positive image to his fans,” said his children in a released statement.
West gained international fame as the caped crusader Batman in the 1960s television series that lasted for three seasons. Decades later, he found an entirely new generation of fans for his role on the Fox animated series “Family Guy” as Mayor Adam West. He also performed voiceover work on Adult Swim’s “Robot Chicken.”
West’s role as Batman will always define his career. The 30-minute comedy-action show, which aired on ABC quickly gained popularity for its weekly parade of flamboyant villains and onscreen exclamations during fight scenes. After the show ended due to slumping ratings, West was ultimately typecast. Although he remained a working actor all of his career, the alter-ego Bruce Wayne limited his options.
West was notably disenchanted with the new Batman movies, which were geared more towards the Bob Kane character’s darker side.
In Feb. 2016, West appeared on the 200th episode of the CBS series “Big Bang Theory,” which marked the 50th anniversary of the Batman television series.
In an interview with Variety, West said that although Batman kept him from getting some pretty good roles, fans all over the world loved him. “I decided to embrace it. Fans loved Batman, so why shouldn’t I?”
In 1959, West began his acting career alongside Paul Newman in The New Philadelphians.
A rising star in the 1950s and 1960s, West appeared on many shows before Batman. He appeared in “Cheyenne,” “Lawman,” “FBI Story,” “Maverick,” “77 Sunset Strip,” “The Real McCoys,” “Gunsmoke,” and bewitched.
Born William West Anderson in Walla Walla, Washington in 1928, West is survived by his widow Marcelle, five children, six grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.