Celebrities: Remembering Adam West

Adam West, the tall, handsome actor who created a fan sensation during the 1960s when he portrayed Batman on television in a zany spoof series, passed away on June 9th after a brief battle with leukemia. The 88-year old star has continued working into his senior years.

 

Born in Walla Walla, Washington, Adam West graduated from Whitman College before carving out a career as a disc jockey, announcer and actor. His distinctive, deep voice and striking good looks helped bring him to the attention of advertising companies and casting agents. Soon he obtained roles in broadcast TV commercials. He also appeared in guest roles on several popular television shows, including a number of Westerns. His television performances eventually led to his selection to play the character of Batman in a humorous sitcom spoofing the exploits of the Caped Crusader. The role quickly propelled him into the national media spotlight.

 

Batman (1966-1968) developed a cult following during its brief prime time run, a phenomenon which continued during extensive re-runs. A number of stars appeared as memorable guest villains on the hit TV series, including popular comic Cesar Romero and actor Burgess Meredith. The popularity of the TV series may have contributed in some measure to the success of later Batman films.

 

The television parody generated a lot of media coverage in the United States; both Adam West and his co-star, Burt Ward, had to battle studio typecasting for years in the aftermath of the successful series. Adam West eventually appeared in several roles which paid homage to his early portrayal of Batman, even spoofing himself during guest voice roles on popular animated series. In addition to acting frequently in roles on a number of television programs and working as a narrator, the actor sometimes made celebrity appearances. When he finally received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in April, 2012, he humorously alluded to the cult status of the original Batman television show by addressing the audience as “citizens of Gotham”.

 

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