Adam West, the actor best known for his role as Batman in the 1960s television series, died on Friday in Los Angeles, CA, after a short battle with leukemia. He was 88.
The West family posted the news this morning to the actor’s social media accounts, stating “Our beloved AW passed away last night. He was the greatest. We’ll miss him like crazy. We know you’ll miss him too – West Family.”
Born in Washington state in 1928, West was an announcer on American Forces Network television while in the U.S. army. After his service, he moved to Hawaii to pursue a career in television. He did eventually get a role on a children’s show, though it was after he moved with his wife and two children to Hollywood in 1959 that he landed roles in films as well as TV westerns, along with guest TV appearances.
But it was in 1966 when West was cast in Batman as the millionaire Bruce Wayne and his crimefighting alter ego Batman that the actor’s career would take off. He starred as the Cape Crusader on the campy small-screen version of the popular comic books for three seasons, from 1966-1968, until its cancellation; he also appeared as the character in the 1966 feature-film spin-off Batman: The Movie (commonly known now as Batman 1966).
While Batman gained him fame — and even a reported offer to play James Bond in Diamonds Are Forever in 1970 (which he turned down) — it also led to severe typecasting, making it hard for the actor to move on from his cowled superhero character.
West continued to work in film and television over the years, especially with guest slots on popular television shows, but he found it difficult to move beyond Batman, so he ended up embracing it. He went on to make personal appearances as Batman, and do the comic convention circuit, and eventually became a pop culture icon. He went on to be involved in other Batman-related projects, such as Batman: The Animated Series, The Batman, and Batman: The Brave and the Bold. Starting in 2000, West saw an increase in popularity when he began voicing the character Mayor Adam West on Seth MacFarlane’s hit animated TV series Family Guy.
“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 family’s said in a statement published, per THR. West is survived by his wife Marcelle, six children, five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
RIP Adam West
September 19, 1928 – June 9, 2017
Our beloved AW passed away last night. He was the greatest. We'll miss him like crazy. We know you'll miss him too – West Family pic.twitter.com/8bkEq1C2ao