Adam West passed away last night after a brief battle with cancer, and the people who knew him best are now paying their respects to the legendary actor. West was known for his iconic portrayal of Bruce Wayne/Batman in the 1966 Batman TV series, which only ran for three seasons before being canceled. Despite that, it turned into a cult favorite among fans and has since gone on to become one of the most defining superhero shows in Hollywood history.
Batman wasn’t the only highlight of his career, though. Once the show ended, the actor carried a prolific career in voice acting, voicing characters in shows such as Johnny Bravo, Family Guy, and even Batman: The Animated Series. He worked with so many people on so many different projects that his footprint can be seen in virtually all corners of Hollywood. Now, many people from all across the industry have expressed their condolences to West’s family as well as shared personal stories on how influential and important the original Batman series was to them.
Chief among those people are Batman actors and writers: Ben Affleck (who plays Batman in the DCEU), Val Kilmer (who played Batman in Batman Forever), Kevin Conroy (who is Batman), Neil Gaiman (who wrote the story, “Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?”), Scott Snyder (one of the most iconic Batman comic book writers), and of course, Mark Hamill (who has played the Joker in numerous adaptations). Here’s what they said:
Adam West exemplified heroism. Kind, funny and an all around great guy. Thank you for showing us all how it's done. @therealadamwest— Ben Affleck (@BenAffleck) June 10, 2017
Ah dear Adam West. He was always so kind when we met. A real gent. Once when I was a kid we found ourselves in front the batmobile. I got in— Val Kilmer (@valkilmer) June 10, 2017
Goodbye my friend pic.twitter.com/VxdRwnCCSM— Kevin Conroy (@RealKevinConroy) June 10, 2017
Rest in Peace Adam West. We met once in 1987 and I was too embarrassed and too foolishly "cool" to tell you what you meant to my childhood.— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) June 10, 2017
Extremely saddened to hear about Adam West's passing. Had the privilege of meeting him a couple years ago and he was inspiring in person too— Scott Snyder (@Ssnyder1835) June 10, 2017
While he didn’t wear the cape and cowl, Mark Hamill’s Joker is an iconic fixture in Batman fandom right up there with the legend of West.
Most of them mention their impression of Adam West after meeting him in person, either professionally or at a convention. They each have played or worked on Batman in some capacity, so meeting the person who likely made them fans of the Dark Knight in the first place is something that most people would be starstruck by. In addition to the above tweets, DC Comics has also released a statement on the loss of West, saying:
“Adam West’s portrayal of Batman was a huge contribution to the Caped Crusader’s status as a true pop culture icon. His work helped bring comic books into the mainstream, and encouraged a generation to discover the wonderful stories and characters that made up Batman’s world through the pages of comic books like Batman and Detective Comics.”
It would be an understatement to say that West’s portrayal of the Caped Crusader is iconic. He not only helped define the character, but he also propelled Batman’s popularity in the mainstream. As news of his passing spreads, more people will presumably speak out and offer their condolences.
Update: Several of West’s co-stars have come out to praise the actor. Burt Ward, who played Robin in the Batman TV show, described his friends as the “true Batman” (via Variety):
“I am devastated at the loss of one my very dearest friends,” Ward said in a statement. “Adam and I had a special friendship for more than 50 years. We shared some of the most fun times of our lives together. Our families have deep love and respect for each other. This is a terribly unexpected loss of my lifelong friend. I will forever miss him. There are several fine actors who have portrayed Batman in films. In my eyes, there was only one real Batman that is and always will be Adam West. He was truly the Bright Night.”
Julie Newmar, who played Catwoman opposite West’s Batman, had equally positive words to say (via LA Times):
“Stellar, exemplar, a king to the end. He was bright, witty and fun to work with. I will miss him in the physical world and savor him always in the world of imagination and creativity. He meant so much to people. A friend said: ‘The father that we wanted.’ That is a great gift, no matter how you live it.”
Source: Various (see links), DC Comics