Original 'Batman' Star Adam West Dies at Age 88
West is most well known for his iconic role as Bruce Wayne/Batman in the comedic 1966 Batman movie and the TV show that followed it, with its catchy opening theme and punchy fight scenes with onscreen "Wham!" sound effects. He would appear as Batman in various incarnations and parodies over the decades, and while many actors have since played the role, West was the first to make a star out of the Dark Knight.
Our beloved AW passed away last night. He was the greatest. We'll miss him like crazy. We know you'll miss him too - West Family pic.twitter.com/8bkEq1C2ao— Adam West (@therealadamwest) June 10, 2017
West started his acting career doing mostly Westerns, appearing in most of the major genre shows at the time from Bonanza to Gunsmoke. But his career finally took off with the 1966 Batman movie, where West took on a deadpan attitude alongside Burt Ward's Robin as they battled the Joker, Catwoman, Riddler and Penguin. Audiences loved watching Batman frantically attempt to get rid of a giant bomb while baby strollers, ducklings and old ladies kept blocking his path, and a show soon followed which lasted for three seasons.
He disagreed with the later portrayals of the character, as Batman gradually grew darker in tone with Tim Burton's Batman or Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins. Even if he played the Dark Knight, he didn't see Batman as the dark character he's since become, something his family reminisced on in a statement, "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."
For a long time, West was so iconic as Batman that he had difficulty getting other roles. Filmmakers and producers constantly worried that audiences would be taken out of the story when Bruce Wayne walks onscreen, essentially limiting West to Batman-related roles if he wanted to find work. He'd once told Variety how he eventually learned to embrace those roles and have fun with them, leading to his many parodies on shows like The Simpsons, The Fairly OddParents and Family Guy:
Adam West has passed. The Batman of my childhood. He brought us so much entertainment and was a truly class act. We'll miss u Adam pic.twitter.com/5ddeOrUCSp— Kevin Conroy (@RealKevinConroy) June 10, 2017