Nearly every home and family in the 1960’s America remembered Adam West and his comedic yet sincere version of TV’s version of Batman. Today, West leaves the Bat cave one last time. He passed away at the age of 88 Friday night in Los Angeles after a short battle with leukemia, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
As legendary iconic superhero of the mid-sixties, many kids waited with baited breath for the Caped Crusader and his side kick Robin’s weekly battles with nefarious criminals like Cesar Romero (Joker), Burgess Meredith (Penguin), Frank Gorshin (Riddler) Julie Newmar (Cat Woman, and a whole host of other nefarious villains.
There was also a touch to finality as well as anticipation for next week’s coming dynamic due battles when the show ended with the famous call to action by urging its ardent viewers to tune in for the next episode at the “Same Bat-time.”
By today’s Millennial standards and expectations of current super heroes, the “Wham! Bam! Pow!” onscreen flashes of action, may seem pale and juvenile. Yet, when “Batman” made its debut on America’s television screens in the fall of 1966, heroes were less dynamic and much more campy fun.
As the decade of the 1960’s ended, so did America’s fascination for Adam West’s Batman. For West, this was especially challenging for him as an actor, because he had been typecast as the Caped Crusader, and Hollywood or even television executives did not seem interested in casting him in other leading roles.
But not everyone felt that Adam West’s Batman and his alter ego Bruce Wayne had faded into television’s series grave yard. In fact, according to Fox News, In February 2016, CBS sitcom “The Big Bang Theory,” which had hosted a number of geek favorites over the years, celebrated its 200th episode — and marked the 50th anniversary of “Batman” — with an appearance by West.
In addition, for those viewers of the Sunday night comedy of “Family Guy”, West was the very familiar voice of mayor of Quahog. West also did other voice over work for other recent shows like “The Simpsons” and the “The Fairly OddParents”,” Rugrats” and “Robot Chicken.”
But his value as an actor who had the ability to add a sense of comic timing was invaluable in his many guest appearances on dozens of shows in the 80’s, 90’s and even in the early 2000’s. According to IMDB, the former Batman, appeared in TV series including Hooper, Police Woman, The Love Boat, Laverne and Shirley, The Last Precinct, Murder She Wrote, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, among many, many others.
West was born William West Anderson in 1928 in Walla Walla, Wash., the actor later adopted his stage name, and began his acting career in the 1950s to star in a local children’s program. He is survived by his wife Marcelle, six children, five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.