The living embodiment of Batman for many a Bat-fan, Mr Adam West, has succumbed to leukemia at the age of 88.
According to his family it was “a short but brave battle” with the insidious disease.
Born William West Anderson, West began his show business career in movies, with small roles in The Young Philadelphians opposite Paul Newman, and soon moved on to roles in TV westerns. He progressed to shows such as Outer Limits and the very popular law drama Perry Mason, before appearing in the Three Stooges’ final movie, The Outlaws Is Coming.
It was an appearance in a TV ad for Nestlé Quik, however, that led to West being spotted and cast as Bruce Wayne/Batman. A major part of the childhoods of kids from several generations, the Batman series actually only aired for three seasons. Then, of course, there was Batman: The Movie, Holy sardine, Batman!
For many years after Batman, West took various small movie roles and guest television roles, but found himself typecast as the comic book hero.
The 1980s saw West discovering fertile new ground in voicing cartoons, many of which were as his signature character. All the while, his cult status was growing and growing.
The 1990s led to many appearances on TV in shows, including Murphy Brown and The Drew Carey Show, often playing himself. His Space Ghost Coast to Coast appearance is legendary, and he even popped up in Goosebumps.
A new century saw West get back together with old chum Burt Ward (Robin in the Batman series), as well as villains from his past in the form of Frank Gorshin (The Riddler), Julie Newmar (The Catwoman) and Lee Meriwether (also The Catwoman), for a TV movie based on the production of Batman entitled Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt.
Ward went on to make guest appearances on such TV hits as 30 Rock and The Big Bang Theory, as well as voicing many videogames, of which he was a vocal advocate. West was perhaps known most in recent years as the voice of Mayor Adam West in Family Guy.
Bon voyage, Batman. Vale Adam West.