Long before Tim Burton, Christopher Nolan, or Zack Snyder saw fit to tackle a theatrical adaptation of the original DC Comics superhero that is Batman, the 1960s ABC serial television series cast the World’s Greatest Detective in a far more light hearted and comedic light. Starring Adam West as Bruce Wayne and Burt Ward as his faithful companion and confident Dick Grayson/Robin, the original show spawned the first feature length motion picture based on the character created by Bob Kane in the form of Batman: The Movie, which was directed by the now deceased veteran TV and film industry veteran Leslie H. Martinson.
Per an official posting from Martinson’s closest living relatives and family, the late director died of natural causes this past Saturday, September 3, 2016, at the ripe old age of 101. Born on January 16, 1915 to Gertrude and Lewis Martinson in Boston, Massachusetts, Leslie got his start in show business while working as journalist for the Boston Evening Transcript, a position which launched him to full-time employment with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1936. Serving as the director of several episodes on multiple television programs over the course of his career, including Maverick, The Brady Bunch, and Diff’rent Strokes, Martinson was most well known for his work on the 1966 Batman: The Movie (as well as two episodes of the ABC series in the same year).
Martinson passed away with relative ease according to an official posting published on the behalf of Brezniak Rodman Funeral Directors, with burial plans scheduled for later this week, as follows:
“Leslie H. Martinson-of Los Angeles, CA, an American television and film director. He died at home of natural causes on September 3, 2016, and is survived by his wife, Connie Martinson, a television host and writer. He will be buried at Temple Israel Cemetery, Wakefield, on Friday, September 9, 2016, at 12:00 noon.“
Before directing Batman: The Movie, Martinson made his feature length debut with Republic Pictures’ 1954 release The Atomic Kid, a science-fiction comedy starring Mickey Rooney. From there, Martinson took the lead in producing several attempted TV series with Rooney as the star, most notably including The Mickey Rooney Show from 1954-1955, before going on to direct a large slate of other prominent series throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Martinson served as President Emeritus of the West Coast Jewish Theater. Martinson is survived by his wife Connie Martinson, who is a fellow film industry writer and entertainer of certain repute.
R.I.P. Leslie H. Martinson: January 16, 1915 – September 3, 2016