Saturday, 22 July, 2017

Adam West, who played 1960s-era Batman, dies at 88

Felix Bryan | 11 June, 2017, 03:57

Adam West, the actor who brought Caped Crusader to a newer, brighter light in the 1960s Batman series, passed away at the age of 88.

"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 as reported by The Hollywood Reporter. West was a regular on the show from 2000 through its most recent season. He later lent his voice to shows like Adult Swim's "Robot Chicken" and Disney Channel's "Jake and the Neverland Pirates".

West struggled to find work for a stretch after Batman, but reignited his career by lending his silky smooth voice to animated shows like The Fairly OddParents, The Simpsons and Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders. According to Variety, his Batman role became his undoing because roles options for him got limited.

West catapulted to fame after portraying the superhero Batman and his alter ego Bruce Wayne on the popular campy television series that premiered in 1966.

West once said that he played Batman "for laughs, but in order to do [that], one had to never think it was amusing". Why not? So I began to reengage myself with Batman. "And that is: if I am being turned down for other roles because of my association with Batman, then maybe what I should do is really embrace Batman".

"As I walked through the checkout line, I heard people saying, 'C'mon, c'mon, hurry up".

The 1966 Batman TV series is definitely the most lighthearted version of the Dark Knight.

#AdamWest was such a wonderful actor & so kind, I'm so lucky to have worked w/ him & tell him how much he meant to me & millions of fans. "They saw the craziness, the comedy". "People come up and play entire scenes for me unsolicited, but I got to laugh". He arrived in Hollywood in 1959 after landing a contract with Warner Bros. and made his feature film debut that year opposite Paul Newman in "The Young Philadelphians".

In the '60s, West appeared in films such as Geronimo, The Outlaws Is Coming and Robinson Crusoe on Mars. The show had a catchy, and at times annoying, theme song.

The list of entertaining thugs who played opposite West was long and illustrious: actresses Juliw Newmar, Eartha Kitt and Lee Meriwether (in a movie spinoff) as Catwoman; Cesar Romero as the Joker; Burgess Meredith as the Penguin; and Frank Gorshin and John Astin as the Riddler. The show - and its 1966 film adaptation - managed a distinctive "tonal jiu jitsu: high silliness executed with grave seriousness", NPR's Glen Weldon wrote previous year.

Many others like Mark Hamill, Matthew Modine, Greg Berlanti, and John Barrowman simply took time to share memories about their original Batman. A spokesperson for the family said West died of leukemia, surrounded by family.

Adam West my after school hours were filled with excitement watching you battle fantastic Villains.

Famously, he voiced Simon Trent, an unemployed and broke former actor famous for his costumed crimefighter the Gray Ghost in Batman: The Animated Series. The attendant publicity seemed to put West back on the cultural radar, at least as a source of nostalgia.

Born William West Anderson on September 19, 1928, in Seattle and raised on a wheat ranch in Walla Walla, Wash., West began his career as a disc jockey and television show host.

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