June 10, 2017

Andrew Blake

Posted with permission from The Washington Times

Adam West, the actor who portrayed Batman and the superhero’s alter ego, Bruce Wayne, on television and movie screens in the 1960s, passed away Friday following a short battle with leukemia, a family spokesperson said. He was 88.

West died peacefully Friday night in Los Angeles surrounded by his family, a representative told The Hollywood Reporter early Saturday.

“A true American icon and beloved father and husband, he will be dearly missed by his family, friends, and millions of fans around the world,” the spokesperson said.

“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’s family said in a statement.

William West Anderson was born in 1928 in Walla Walla, Washington, but assumed the stage name “Adam West” after relocating to Los Angeles in the late 50s to pursue an acting career. His big break came the following decade when he was cast to play the title role in ABC’s “Batman” series in addition to the series’ 1966 motion picture of the same name, and he revived that role several times during the subsequent decades.

“There was a time when Batman really kept me from getting some pretty good roles, and I was asked to do what I figured were important features,” West told Variety magazine during an earlier interview. “However, Batman was there, and very few people would take a chance on me walking on to the screen. And they’d be taking people away from the story. So I decided that since so many people love Batman, I might as well love it too. Why not? So I began to reengage myself with Batman. And I saw the comedy. I saw the love people had for it, and I just embraced it.”

Despite being initially typecast, West maintained a lengthy and active acting career spanning over a half-century since landing his initial “Batman” gig. He began voicing a character on the animated series “Family Guy” in 2000, and appeared as himself last year on the 200th episode of “The Big Bang Theory,” among other recent roles.

West is survived by his wife Marcelle, six children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, Variety reported.