‘Batman’ actor Adam West dies at the age of 88

The actor died on Friday after a struggle with leukemia, according to a family statement

Adam West, who earned a place in American pop culture history with his portrayal of the title character in the classic 1960s TV series Batman, has died at the age of 88 after a short struggle with leukemia. Video: Reuters

 

Adam West, who earned a place in American pop culture history with his portrayal of the title character in the classic 1960s TV series Batman, has died at age of 88, his family said on Saturday.

West, who was so closely identified with Batman for the rest of his life that it was both a blessing and a curse for him, died on Friday evening after a short struggle with leukemia, his representative told Variety.

“He was the greatest. We’ll miss him like crazy,” his family said on the actor’s Twitter account.

The live-action Batman show, which also starred Burt Ward as West’s sidekick Robin and a collection of colorful villains, was inspired by a long-running comic book series.

It ran only three seasons from 1966 to 1968 on the ABC network, but became a television phenomenon and cult classic. It also spawned a Batman feature film in 1966.

West portrayed Batman and his alter-ego Bruce Wayne as painfully earnest, straight-laced, clean-cut and trustworthy. The darker aspects of the Batman character - mined so successfully in later film versions - were ignored.

The show’s various memorable villains - including Cesar Romero as the Joker, Frank Gorshin as the Riddler, Burgess Meredith as the Penguin and Julie Newmar as Catwoman - were allowed to chew the scenery.

Numerous Hollywood luminaries stepped in to play Batman’s demented adversaries over the show’s 120 episodes.

“He was bright, witty and fun to work with,” Newmar said on Saturday in a statement. “I will miss him in the physical world and savour him always in the world of imagination and creativity.”

Difficulties

After the cancellation of the series, West found it difficult to land other acting jobs, even though he was an established film and TV actor, because he had become so linked to the Batman role.

Eventually, he came to accept that his identity was closely intertwined with that of the masked crime-fighting hero.

He was often hired to play a comical fictionalised version of himself in live-action and animated roles and became a successful voice actor.

On the long-running animated series Family Guy, he provided the voice of the character Mayor Adam West.

He played himself for years on the cartoon The Fairly OddParents and appeared on The Simpsons.

West also voiced the Caped Crusader and other characters in numerous animated incarnations of Batman.

Reuters