Batman Legend Adam West Passes Away

by Chris Foti
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It is with a heavy heart here at Dark Knight News that we announce that legendary Batman actor Adam West has passed away.  He was 88.  A statement from his family reads:

“It’s with great sadness that we are sharing this news…Adam West passed away peacefully last night after a short but brave battle with leukemia.  He was a beloved father, husband, grandfather, and great-grandfather.  There are no words to describe how much we’ll miss him.  We know you’ll miss him too and we want you to know how much your love and support meant to him throughout the years.  Hug your loved ones day. – The West Family”

Most famous for his role as Bruce Wayne/Batman in the ABC television series Batman, West would play the role in 120 episodes between 1966 and 1968, and starred in the feature film Batman in 1966.  Although this interpretation of the character was very campy and goofy, especially compared to today’s standards of Batman, it was very faithful to the character in the comics at that time.

After Batman was off the air, West was actually offered the role of a character not too dissimilar from Batman.  Cubby Broccoli offered him the role of James Bond for the film Diamonds Are Forever, but West declined stating that he believed the role should always be portrayed by a British actor.

Due to the enormous popularity of Batman, Adam West, along with his co-stars Burt Ward (Robin) and Yvonne Craig (Batgirl) were severely typecast, though West was able to score various roles throughout the ’70s and ’80s in various films.

West would return to the character that made him a household name in the animated cartoon The New Adventures of Batman in 1977, where he voiced Batman/Bruce Wayne alongside his longtime partner Burt Ward.  West also voiced the character in Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show from 1984-1985 and The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians from 1985-1986.

With such a monumental and historic background with the character, Adam West made several guest appearances in other incarnations of Batman throughout the years.  In Batman: The Animated Series, West provided his voice for Simon Trent, a washed up actor who used to play the superhero The Gray Ghost on television, and was having trouble finding work ever since.  In this interpretation of Batman, The Gray Ghost played a huge role in Bruce Wayne’s life as a child and helped inspire him to become Batman after his parent’s murder. Although the Gray Ghost shared many similarities with West’s real life and career, he gladly accepted the role.

'Beware the Gray Ghost' Title Card
Gray Ghost Helping Batman

He also leant his voice to The Batman in a recurring role as Mayor Grange throughout the WB animated series.  In Batman: The Brave and the Bold, he voiced Bruce’s father, Thomas Wayne in an episode, as well as a prototype robot of Batman.

Mayor Grange in 'The Batman'
Thomas Wayne in 'Batman: The Brave and the Bold'

Most recently, West voiced Batman/Bruce Wayne in 2016’s direct-to-DVD film Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders, which was based on the 1960s series starring West.  Burt Ward and Julie Newmar also returned to reprise their roles of Robin and Catwoman respectively.  Its sequel, Batman vs. Two-Face is scheduled for release this year, with William Shatner voicing Harvey Two-Face opposite of West’s Batman, which will sadly end up being West’s last time playing the character.

Batman and Robin in 'Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders'
Batman and Robin in 'Batman vs. Two-Face

Outside of Batman, West was probably also most known for his long-standing role on Family Guy as Mayor Adam West.  And let me tell you, nobody messed with Adam We…

Whether you grew up watching the television show, caught reruns years later, or have never seen an episode in your life, Bat-fans everywhere know and respect the legend of Adam West.  He might not have been the dark, grim, brooding Batman we’re used to today, but West’s campy Batman has and deserves its place in Batman history, and he will be missed.  At a 2014 Comic-Con, West had this to say about his career:

“I look around and I see the adults – I see you grew up with me, and you believe in the adventure.  I never believed this would happen, that I would be up here with illustrious people like yourselves.  I’m so grateful!  I’m the luckiest actor in the world, folks, to have you still hanging around.”

Rest in piece, Adam West. Heroes get remembered, but legends never die.

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