Actor Adam West, who was most known for his portrayal of Batman in the original 1960s live-action series, passed away last night of leukemia at 88. He was surrounded by family and is survived by his wife Marcelle, six children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
His family released an official statement this morning:
“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.”
The famous ABC series Batman debuted in January 1966 to unexpected popularity. His tongue-in-cheek portrayal of Batman would come to define his career due to widespread acclaim that the series earned and the cult following that pursued decades after the show ended. 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.”
It’s that kind of humor that would stick with fans for years to come.
It was this kind of humor that sticks to my memory today as I reflect on the times when I’d watch Batman re-runs on the TV. The series was campy and Adam West’s delivery was always that of a straight-man. Coupled with popping colors and wham-bam-thank you ma’am graphics and campy acting delivered by West, it is no mystery why West will always be remembered as Batman to many. He was Batman.
And he will live in our hearts and minds forever.