Hollywood legend Adam West, an actor defined as well as constrained by his role in the 1960s series Batman took his last breath on Friday night in Los Angeles. He passed away after a short battle with leukemia at the age of 88.
West is survived by his wife Marcelle, six children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. “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.
He was born as William West Anderson in Walla Walla, Washington on 19 September, 1928. However, the actor later adopted his stage name as Adam West.
His first tryst with acting was when he was picked for a role as the sidekick on a children’s show called El Kini Popo Show, which featured him as a chimp. West later took over as star of the show.
In 1959, West moved with his wife and two children to Hollywood where he took the stage name Adam West. In his autobiography Back to the Batcave, he explains he chose the name Adam simply because he liked the way it looked and sounded with West, his middle name.
After a short struggle in his career, his role as the caped crusader in the 1966-68 ABC series Batman made him a phenomenon.
Batman became a surprise hit with its premiere on ABC in 1966 as a half-hour action comedy. It was such a huge hit that it was soon aired twice a week. Soon it was followed by Batman movie which hit the theaters two months after the last episode of the first season of the television series. However by the third season, the ratings started plunging downhill and the last episode was aired on March 1968.
Post Batman, he played guest roles on shows including Murder, She Wrote, The Love Boat and Fantasy Island.
Due to the heavy impact of Batman on audiences, West was offered less of other roles initially. According to West, the best thing about his character (Batman) was getting good money for it. Despite being rejected from other roles he embraced it.
He has acted in Lawman, Cheyenne, The FBI Story, Colt .45, 77 Sunset Strip, Maverick, Hawaiian Eye, Bonanza,The Rifleman, Perry Mason,Gunsmoke,The Real McCoys,Bewitched, The Outer Limits and The Virginian among other programs.
West was also prolific as a voice actor. He worked on dozens of animated series during the past 40 years, from numerous incarnations of the Batman character to Kim Possible, SpongeBob SquarePants, The Fairly Oddparents,The Boondocks and Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero.
West reminisced his Batman memories at Comic-Con in 2014. He said to the audience, “When Batman was canceled, the only thing I thought is that it would be the end of me, and it was for a bit. But then I realised that what we created in the show. We created this zany, lovable world.”
The Hollywood legend added, “I look around and I see the adults. I see you grew up with me, and you believe in the adventure. I never believed this would happen, that I would be up here with illustrious people like yourselves. I’m so grateful! I’m the luckiest actor in the world, folks, to have you still hanging around.”