Adam West Hollywood Reporter obit
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Robert Catt
2017-06-10 16:02:42 UTC
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Adam West, the ardent actor who managed to keep his tongue in cheek while
wearing the iconic cowl of the Caped Crusader on the classic 1960s series
Batman, has died. He was 88. West, who was at the pinnacle of pop culture
after Batman debuted in January 1966, only to see his career fall victim to
typecasting after the ABC show flamed out, died Friday night in Los Angeles
after a short battle with leukemia, a family spokesperson said.

West died peacefully surrounded by his family and 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. He was and always will be our hero,” his family
said in a statement.

After struggling for years without a steady job, the good-natured actor
reached a new level of fame when he accepted an offer to voice the mayor of
Quahog — named Adam West; how’s that for a coincidence! — on Seth MacFarlane’s
long-running Fox animated hit Family Guy.

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 would OK the
casting of Burt Ward, who had a brown belt in karate but zero acting
experience). “The tone of our first show, by Lorenzo Semple Jr., was one of
absurdity and tongue in cheek to the point that I found it irresistible,”
West said. “I think they recognized that in me from what they’d seen me do
before. I understood the material and brought something to it.

“You can’t play Batman in a serious, square-jawed, straight-ahead way
without giving the audience the sense that there’s something behind that
mask waiting to get out, that he’s a little crazed, he’s strange.”

The hunky Lyle Waggoner (later of The Carol Burnett Show) and Peter Deyell
also tested to play the Gotham City crime fighters, but West and Ward
clearly were superior, and Batman debuted at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 12, 1966, a

The cliffhanger episode would be resolved the very next night — Same
Bat-time! Same Bat-channel! The show was originally intended to last an
hour, but ABC split it up when it had two time slots available on its
primetime schedule.

West said that he played Batman “for laughs, but in order to do [that], one
had to never think it was funny. You just had to pull on that cowl and
believe that no one would recognize you.”

The series, filmed in eye-popping bright colors in an era of black-and-white
and featuring a revolving set of villains like the Riddler (Frank Gorshin),
Joker (Cesar Romero), Penguin (Burgess Meredith) and Catwoman (Julie
Newmar), was an immediate hit; the Thursday installment was No. 5 in the
Nielsen ratings for the 1965-66 season, and the Wednesday edition was No.
10. However, the popularity of the show soon plummeted, and Batman — despite
the addition of Yvonne Craig as Batgirl — was canceled in March 1968 after
its third season.

West quickly struggled to find work, forced to make appearances in his cape
and cowl at car shows and carnivals and in such obscure films as The
Marriage of a Young Stockbroker (1971), written by Semple, and The Happy
Hooker Goes Hollywood (1980). He and his family downsized, leaving their
home in the tony Pacific Palisades for Ketchum, Idaho. “The people who were
hiring, the people who were running the studios, running the shows, were
dinosaurs,” the actor said in the 2013 documentary Starring Adam West. “They
thought Batman was a big accident, that there was no real creative thought,
expertise or art behind it. They were wrong.”

He returned to voice his iconic character in such cartoons as The New
Adventures of Batman, Legends of the Superheroes, SuperFriends: The
Legendary Super Powers Show and The Simpsons, and Warner Bros.’ long-awaited
DVD release of ABC’s Batman in 2014 brought him back into the Bat Signal’s

He was born William West Anderson in Seattle on Sept. 19, 1928, the second
of two sons. His father, Otto, was a wheat farmer; his mother, Audrey, was a
pianist and opera singer.

West attended an all-boys high school, then graduated with a major in
English literature from Whitman College. During his senior year, he worked
for a local radio station, doing everything from Sunday morning religion
shows to the news.

He also starred in a couple of plays at the local theater. “I found that I
could move an audience and I was appreciated,” he said.

In the Army, West served as an announcer on American Forces Network
television, then worked as the station manager at Stanford while he was a
graduate student.

He got a job at a McClatchy station in Sacramento, Calif., then moved to
Hawaii, where he hosted a two-hour weekday show in the late 1950s with a
diaper-wearing chimp named Peaches. (West said he once interviewed William
Holden as the actor was passing through.)

West got a contract at Warner Bros. at $150 a week and was placed in one of
the studio’s TV series — Colt .45, Maverick, Hawaiian Eye, 77 Sunset Strip,
Cheyenne, etc. — pretty much every week.

He got his first regular TV role when he played Det. Sgt. Steve Nelson under
the command of Robert Taylor on the 1959-62 ABC/NBC series The Detectives,
coming aboard when that show expanded to one hour in color.

After he split with Warner Bros., West showed up in such forgettable films
as Geronimo (1962) starring Chuck Connors, Tammy and the Doctor (1963) with
Sandra Dee and in The Three Stooges film The Outlaws Is Coming (1965) before
Batman changed his life forever.

He later starred in a rejected 1991 NBC pilot episode called Lookwell —
written by Conan O’Brien and Robert Smigel — in which he portrayed a
once-famous TV detective who thinks he can solve crimes in real life.

Then came the gig on MacFarlane’s Family Guy. “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,” he said 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

When Batman was canceled, “The only thing I thought is that it would be the
end of me, and it was for a bit,” he told an audience at Comic-Con in 2014.
“But then I realized that what we created in the show … we created this
zany, lovable world.

“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.”

2017-06-10 17:22:10 UTC
Raw Message
Post by Robert Catt
Adam West, the ardent actor who managed to keep his tongue in cheek while
wearing the iconic cowl of the Caped Crusader on the classic 1960s series
Batman, has died. He was 88. West, who was at the pinnacle of pop culture
after Batman debuted in January 1966, only to see his career fall victim to
typecasting after the ABC show flamed out, died Friday night in Los Angeles
after a short battle with leukemia, a family spokesperson said.
Golly...gee whiz...I really liked him.
2017-06-10 18:28:35 UTC
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The only think lamer than Star Trek is Batman
Michael OConnor
2017-06-10 19:12:38 UTC
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Post by c***@aol.com
The only think lamer than Star Trek is Batman
I always saw Adam West as the Anti-Shatner. As William Shatner always felt for much of his career that he was some sort of great thespian when he was in fact a melodramatic hack, Adam West always seemed kinda satisfied with his lot in life as a melodramatic hack and it was enough for him to just be known as Batman. It was about the time Shatner started doing the Priceline TV commercials about 20 years ago when he finally figured out he can neither sing nor act and just played himself instead of trying to do his inimitable style of acting. Ironically, it was about the same time that West made a career comeback with Family Guy, playing himself as the wacky Mayor.