Batman has gone through many iterations on screen throughout the years, from the 90s animated series to current Batman, Ben Affleck. Bruce Wayne is a character that lends himself to different interpretations, some more colorful than others.
One of the most memorable was undoubtedly Adam West's Batman from the 1960s television series. The show was a campy and colorful series that had an undeniable charm thanks largely to its straight-faced lead. He will be sorely missed.
Adam West And His Legacy
In a statement released earlier today, the West family announced the legendary TV actor has passed away at the age of 88. He passed away peacefully on Friday, June 9, in Los Angeles. He was surrounded by friends and family as he succumbed to a short battle with leukemia, according to West's rep.
"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," the West family said in their statement.
As mentioned, West rose to stardom in the 1960s thanks to the TV series Batman where he played the caped crusader alongside Burt Ward's Robin. The show ran for three seasons from 1966 to 1968 and saw the dynamic duo battle some of their best-known villains, like Joker and Penguin, along with some more "unique" villains like King Tut. The show rose to such popularity that some of the biggest stars of the time wanted to appear on the show, even playing some of the villains like Vincent Price's Egghead. The show even spawned a feature film that had all the "biffs," "pows," and shark repellent fans could handle.
After the show's cancellation, though, West would struggle to find work afterwards due to his close association to the show. He would start to re-emerge in the early 2000s when he popped up as "himself" as the mayor of Quahog in Family Guy. He quickly became a mainstay of the show as one of its longest-running side-characters due to the absurdity of this Adam West. He would continue to appear on other TV shows through the 2000s, popping up in Robot Chicken and The Big Bang Theory. He even got a chance to revisit his star-making character with an animated film from DC and Warner Bros. set in the old 1966 show.
A Rough 2017
2017 has already been a rough year in terms of celebrity deaths. West joins a list of stars that includes John Hurt, Mary Tyler Moore, Bill Paxton, Don Rickles, Charlie Murphy, Powers Boothe, Gregg Allman, Chris Cornell, and Sir Roger Moore. These were all powerhouses of film, TV, comedy, and music who passed away this year. And it doesn't help that 2017 is proving to be another rough year like 2016 and 2015 were, since each saw its share of notable celebrity passings.
That said, West deserves all the adoration in the world for his life and work. This was a man who reveled in the comedy and absurdity of his Batman, celebrating it to the end. Adam West, you will be missed.