Actor Adam West, best known for his iconic portrayal of Bruce Wayne/Batman in the 1960’s Batman television series, passed away Friday night in Los Angeles at the age of 88. According to a family spokesperson, West was surrounded by family members when he died after a short battle with leukemia.
West is survived by his wife Marcelle, his six children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Courtesy of THR, West’s family issued the following brief statement:
“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,”
West was born William West Anderson on September 19th, 1928 in Walla Walla, Washington to parents Otto and Audrey. He graduated from Whitman College with a Bachelor’s in Literature and a minor in psychology, but was drafted into the United States army. The army used West’s distinct voice as an announcer for the Armed Forces Network, from which the future actor got a taste of the television business. After his time in the army, he would pursue a career in acting.
Following small roles in films and shows like The Young Philadelphians, Perry Mason, Soldier in the Rain, and Outer Limits, West (now known as the stage name Adam West) received his big break as Bruce Wayne/Batman in the campy superhero series Batman. The show ran from 1966-1968, and a theatrical film was released in 1966. The show was an immense success, and West’s portrayal of the caped crusader is still well-regarded and considered highly influential to lighter-toned superhero fare.
Post-Batman, West struggled to find a steady job, jumping around from guest appearances in shows like Maverick, Diagnosis: Murder and Bonanza to performances in films like The Girl Who Knew Too Much, The Curse of the Moon Child and Hooper. He returned to the role of Batman as a voice actor in the short-lived 1970’s series The New Adventures of Batman. The role as a voice actor was a pre-cursor for a big part of the actor’s remaining career, as he eventually took on self-deprecating and referential voice performances in TV shows like Family Guy, The Fairly Oddparents, The Simpsons, and Futurama. . West further satirized himself in Goosebumps, 30 Rock, The Big Bang Theory.
His last new role was as the narrator of the short-lived NBC superhero series Powerless, which premiered and subsequently was canceled earlier this year. Ostensibly, new episodes of Family Guy will feature some voice work from West, but this cannot be confirmed at this time.
R.I.P. Adam West – September 19th, 1928 – June 9th, 2017.
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