Adam West, the actor who played the legendary Caped Crusader on the classic 1960s series Batman, passed away Friday night in Los Angeles after a short battle with leukemia. He was 88.
West died peacefully surrounded by his family. He's survived by his wife Marcelle, six children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. “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,” his family said in a statement.
West is also known for voiceover gigs later in his career including one as the mayor of Quahog on 'Family Guy.'
He had strugged for years without a steady acting job. He reached a new level of fame when he accepted an offer to voice the mayor of Quahog named "Adam West" on Seth MacFarlane’s long-running Fox animated hit Family Guy.
Batman was nominated for the Emmy Award for outstanding comedy series in its first year, losing out to CBS’ The Dick Van Dyke Show. A 20th Century Fox movie was rushed into production and played in theaters in the summer before season two kicked off in September 1966.
The popularity of the show soon plummeted quickly, and Batman — despite the addition of Yvonne Craig as Batgirl. West's career fell victim to typecasting after the ABC show was canceled in March 1968 after its third season.
On the big screen, West played a wealthy Main Line husband who meets an early end in Paul Newman’s The Young Philadelphians (1959), was one of the first two humans on the Red Planet in Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964) and contributed his velvety voice to the animated Redux Riding Hood (1997), which received an Oscar nomination for best short film.
Raised on a ranch outside Walla Walla, Wash., West caught the attention of Batman producer William Dozier when he played Captain Quik, a James Bond-type character with a sailor’s cap, in commercials for Nestle’s Quik.
West, who had appeared in many Warner Bros. television series as a studio contract player, was filming the spaghetti Western The Relentless Four (1965) in Europe at the time. He returned to the States to meet with Dozier, “read the pilot script and knew after 20 pages that it was the kind of comedy I wanted to do,” he said in a 2006 interview with the Archive of American Television.
He signed a contract on the spot, only asking that he be given the chance to approve who would play his sidekick, Robin, the Boy Wonder. He OKed the casting of Burt Ward to play the role. Ward had a brown belt in karate but zero acting experience.
Source: Hollywood Reporter