Adam West, an actor with more than six decades of work under his belt and beloved by many for his role as Batman in the original Batman TV series, has died.
West died on Friday night in Los Angeles after a short fight with leukemia, a family spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter. The actor was 88.
Although West had many jobs over the years, on both the big and small screen, his most revered role was as the Caped Crusader in ABC’s short-lived Batman series. The show ran from January 12, 1966 until March 14, 1968. West starred alongside Julie Newmar, who played Catwoman, and Burt Ward, who played Batman’s loyal sidekick, Robin. Despite plunging ratings, NBC agreed to pick up Batman after Fox decided to cancel it. Before the show could continue, however, someone destroyed the set where the show was shot and the deal with NBC fell through.
West, known for his charismatic personality and dedication to his craft, didn’t just stop playing Batman, though. The actor would return to voice Batman in a number of animated specials, including the recent animated feature film, Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders, which came out last year. He reunited with Ward and Newmar for the film.
Even when not playing Batman, West couldn’t get away from the fandom that followed him. It wasn’t until 2000 that West found a way to embrace the community while playing a slightly different character — himself. After meeting with Seth MacFarlane, creator of Family Guy, West joined the show’s cast. He would go on to play different, exaggerated and eccentric versions of himself as the Mayor of Quahog for more than 15 years.
Even though West could never get away from campier projects offered to him, the actor embraced every role and turned it into his own. It was the love he had for the character and the community that led to an incredibly long and successful career in Hollywood, but fans will always remember him for his willingness to interact one-on-one at conventions and talk about the Dark Knight.
West, who was born in Walla Walla, Washington, is survived by his wife Marcelle West and their children.