Category: Legendary Artist

TV’s Batman Adam West Dies

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.

Adam West AKA Batman Dies at 88

Actor Adam West, who had a lengthy career in television but whose legacy will always be tied to the cartoon character of Batman, died at the age of 88 in Los Angeles on June 9 from leukemia.

 

Growing up in Washington state, West first came to onscreen prominence in the 1959 movie, The Young Philadelphians and appeared as a guest star in a number of television programs. In 1965, following completion of a Western that was filmed in Europe, West met with producer William Dozier about possibly playing a live-action version of Batman.

 

West had caught the attention of Dozier as a result of a commercial that he had appeared in for Nestle’s Quik, which portrayed him as a fun-loving and debonair character. Looking for someone who could play the dual role of millionaire Bruce Wayne and his alter-ego of Batman and do so in a tongue-in-cheek manner, Dozier hired West for the role.

 

During the first season in early 1966, the show became a huge hit among both children and adults. In a number of cases, major celebrities offered to appear on the program as a way to curry favor with their own children.

 

The production schedule over the show’s first 18 months would now be considered unthinkable, with 90 half-hour episodes AND a feature film made. Budgetary cuts and a decline in interest eventually resulted in the show being cancelled in early 1968.

 

West later complained that the role had typecast him, resulting in the destruction of his career. However, he was able to continue making money by playing the character in numerous personal appearances, which eventually allowed him to accept his legacy.

 

The release of Batman movies over the past three decades also brought him back into the public spotlight. That renewed prominence allowed him to essentially play himself in the Fox cartoon, Family Guy. On the show, he played the mayor of the town, who happened to be named Adam West.

 

Character Actor Adam West Dies at Age 88

Adam West, the first actor to portray Batman in colorized media, passed away from leukemia at the age of 88. While West’s acting career gained a steady second wind through his voice work as characters like the mayor of “Family Guy’s” Quahog, Rhode Island, and several voices on “Robot Chicken,” few ever forget that the man was best known for playing Batman on television during the 1960s. Additionally, West’s time with the campy comic book program may have contributed to its evolution into a biweekly program for two seasons, as well as meriting a theatrically-released film, but the role also helped to pigeonhole his acting career for quite a while.

 

West was also notably distressed with the tonal shift in Batman’s character that began when Tim Burton’s “Batman” film released in 1989 and seems to have only continued with Christopher Nolan and Zach Snyder’s takes on DC Comics’ dark knight; where West portrayed a Batman who served as a bastion of comicdom’s “silver age,” these newer versions portrayed the caped crusader as a dark, brooding vigilante. In an interview with Variety, West shared his thoughts on the character of Batman as it changed over half a century; he felt that money had played a huge role and when his work as Batman became a hindrance to his career, he doubled down on his involvement with the character.

 

While some grew to positively associate West with a comic book character come to life, newer fans of the source material, especially fans of the ’70s and ’80s Batman books, grew to loathe West by association; that decade was when Batman seemed to grow more dark, brooding and angsty.

 

Beyond his time as an actor, West also became a published author. Released in the ’90s, West’s “Back to the Batcave” covered behind-the-scenes anecdotes of his time on ABC’s Batman and shared his anger and dismay at not being given the chance to reprise his role in Burton’s film.

 

Adam West of Batman Fame Passes Away

Millions of people around the world are coming to grips with the sad news the legendary Adam West has passed away. Adam West was, of course, the man who donned the cartoonish cape and cowl in the 1960’s Batman television series.

 

West passed away at age 88 after battling leukemia. Although the Batman television series only aired for three seasons, the programmed lived on in syndication and cable television for decades. West’s campy portrayal of Batman is among the most memorable of all portrayals in television history. Although he was not the first person to play Batman in a live-action setting and he definitely was not the last, Adam West is the actor most associated with the role.

 

Children grew up watching the reruns of the series, a program designed more for lighthearted comedy as opposed to the dark, grim origins the Dark Knight found in the comics. The Batman program of the 1960’s was perfect for the time period. Unfortunately, the series was short-lived since it became part of a fad.

 

After the series ended, Adam West found acting roles limited although he did an enormous number of live appearances through the 1970’s.

 

Over the past two decades, West has received greater appreciation for his performance as Batman. Very few actors could have made Batman as memorable as West. He truly captured the fun theme of the show, which did require really having a pulse for what the audiences wanted at the time.

 

Adam West definitely did not slow down in his later years. Appearances on Family Guy and lending his voice to animated projects kept him busy and in the public eye. He will be surely missed by legions of fans.