Adam West, whose straight-faced portrayal of Batman in a campy 1960s TV series lifted the tight-clad Caped Crusader into the national consciousness, has died at age 88, his publicist Molly Schoneveld said Saturday.
West died Friday night after “a short but brave battle with leukemia,” his family said in a statement.
West played the superhero straight for kids and funny for adults. He initially chaffed at being typecast after “Batman” went off the air after three seasons, but in later years he admitted he was pleased to have had a role in kicking off a big-budget film franchise by showing the character’s wide appeal.
“He was bright, witty and fun to work with,” Julie Newmar, who played Catwoman to West’s Batman, said in a statement Saturday. “I will miss him in the physical world and savor him always in the world of imagination and creativity.”
Burt Ward, who played Batman’s sidekick, Robin, was friends with West for more than 50 years.
“We shared some of the most fun times of our lives together, Ward told the Variety entertainment media outlet. “This is a terribly unexpected loss of my lifelong friend. I will forever miss him.”
A whole new generation of fans knew West as the voice of nutty Mayor Adam West on the long-running animated series “Family Guy.”
“Adam West was a joy to work with, and the kind of guy you always wanted to be around,” ”Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane said in a statement
MacFarlane added: “His positivity, good nature, and sense of fun were undeniable, and it was always a big jolt of the best kind of energy when he walked in to record the show. He knew comedy, and he knew humanity… Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you have given, Mr. Mayor. You’re irreplaceable.”
In April 2012, West received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Born William West Anderson in Walla Walla, Washington, he moved to Seattle at age 15 with his mother after his parents divorced.
He graduated from Whitman College, a private liberal arts school, in Walla Walla.
After serving in the Army, he went to Hollywood and changed his name to Adam West, and began appearing on a number of television series, including “Bonanza,” ”Perry Mason” and “Bewitched.”
“Batman” was the role he would remain associated with throughout his life.
Story by the Associated Press.