Best known as star of TV’s “Batman”, actor Adam West has passed away at age 88.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, a family spokesperson reports that West died in Los Angeles on Friday after a short battle with leukemia, passing away peacefully surrounded by his family.
The late actor is 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,” said West’s family in a statement. “He was and always will be our hero.”
West was a frequent guest star on TV series in the late 1950s and early ’60s, appearing in such series as “77 Sunset Strip” and “Perry Mason”, but his big break came when he donned a cowl and tights for “Batman”, which debuted in 1966.
Co-starring with Burt Ward as the Caped Crusader’s “Boy Wonder” sidekick Robin, West’s straight-faced performance in the campy comic-book series was a hit with viewers, sending “Batman” to the top of the ratings.
The show’s popularity, however, was short-lived, and “Batman” was cancelled in 1968, which led to a difficult period for West when he found he was typecast. Difficulty finding acting roles led him to hit the road for personal appearances at fan conventions, car shows and the like.
West experienced a comeback in the 2000s thanks to his distinctive voice, which was utilized in numerous animated TV cartoons.
He found a whole new level of late-in-life fame thanks to Seth MacFarlane, who cast him as an over-the-top version of himself in “Family Guy”, with animated Adam West featured in the recurring role of the mayor of Quahog, Rhode Island.
“I had done a pilot with Seth that he had written for me. It turned out we had the same kind of comic sensibilities and got along well,” said West in a 2012 interview. “When ‘Family Guy’ came around and Seth became brilliantly successful, he decided to call me and see what I was doing. He asked if I would like to come aboard as the mayor, and I thought it would be neat to do something sort of absurd and fun.”
Following news of West’s passing, Ward released a statement on the death of his former “Batman” co-star.
“I am devastated at the loss of one of my very dearest friends,” reads Ward’s statement. “Adam and I had a special friendship for more than 50 years. We shared some of the most fun times of our lives together; our families have deep love and respect for each other. This is a terribly unexpected loss of my lifelong friend, I will forever miss him. There are several fine actors who have portrayed Batman in films, in my eyes there was only one real Batman and that is and always will be Adam West; He was truly the Bright Knight.”
Julie Newmar, who played Catwoman on “Batman,” described her former co-star as “stellar, exemplar, a king to the end,” she said in a statement. “He was bright, witty and fun to work with. I will miss him in the physical world and savour him always in the world of imagination and creativity. He meant so much to people. A friend said: ‘The father that we wanted.’ That is a great gift, no matter how you live it.”
Seth MacFarlane also issued a statement about West’s passing, via Twitter:
MacFarlane was joined by a number of West’s celebrity fans, who took to social media to share their condolences.