Saturday, June 10, 2017

Passing: Batman!

Adam West, TV's Batman, dies at 88

by CBC News

June 10, 2017

'We'll miss him like crazy,' Washington-born actor's family says on Twitter.

Adam West, the actor who played the title role in the kitschy 1960s Batman television series, has died at age 88.

Family members said on a verified Facebook page that West died Friday night after "a short but brave battle with leukemia."

On West's Twitter page, the family wrote: "He was the greatest. We'll miss him like crazy."

West, who was so closely identified with his tongue-in-cheek portrayal of the cartoon superhero that he had trouble landing other roles when the show ended, died on Friday evening after a struggle with leukemia, his representative told Variety.

West played the superhero straight for kids and funny for adults. His sidekick, Robin, was played by Burt Ward. The actors voiced their characters in 1989 in an animated film, Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders.

He initially chaffed at being typecast after Batman went off the air after three seasons, but in later years, he admitted he was pleased to have had a role in kicking off a big-budget film franchise by showing the character's wide appeal.

"You get terribly typecast playing a character like that," he said in a 2014 interview.

"But in the overall, I'm delighted because my character became iconic and has opened a lot of doors in other ways, too." 

Superhoic return to TV

West returned to the role of Batman in an episode of the animated The Simpsons.

More recently, he did the voice of nutty Mayor Adam West in the long-running Family Guy series.

In April 2012, West received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

West, left, is shown with his Batman sidekick Robin, played by Burt Ward, in 1989. The actors voiced their characters in an animated film, Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders. (The Associated Press)

Born William West Anderson in Walla Walla, Wash., he moved to Seattle at age 15 with his mother after his parents divorced.

He graduated from Whitman College, a private liberal arts school, in Walla Walla.

After serving in the army, he went to Hollywood and changed his name to Adam West, and began appearing on a number of television series, including Bonanza, Perry Mason and Bewitched.

Married three times, he had six children.

West had homes in Los Angeles and Palm Springs, Calif., but he and his wife, Marcelle, spent most of their time at their ranch near Sun Valley, Idaho. 

Batman's cast of characters

While West's character drove Batman, the show's various memorable villains — Cesar Romero as the Joker, Frank Gorshin as the Riddler, Burgess Meredith as the Penguin and Julie Newmar as Catwoman — were allowed to chew the scenery.

Numerous Hollywood luminaries stepped in to play Batman's demented adversaries in the show's 120 episodes.
"He was bright, witty and fun to work with," Newmar said on Saturday in a statement.
"I will miss him in the physical world and savour him always in the world of imagination and creativity."

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