Adam West, TV’s ‘Batman,’ Dies at 88 After Battle With Leukemia

Dean James III% AMERICA’S FREEDOM FIGHTERS –

Actor Adam West, famous for his portrayal of the Caped Crusader in the 1960s “Batman” TV series, has died at 88, his family said Saturday on social media.

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A family rep said that he died after a short battle with leukemia.

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The family released a statement on Facebook:

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“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 today.” 
– The West Family

West played the superhero straight for kids and funny for adults. He initially chaffed at being typecast after “Batman” went off the air after three seasons, but in later years admitted he was pleased to have had a role in kicking off a big-budget film franchise by showing the character’s wide appeal, Fox News reports.

Asked by Variety what the character of Batman has come to mean to him over five decades, West said: “Money. Some years ago I made an agreement with Batman. There was a time when Batman really kept me from getting some pretty good roles, and I was asked to do what I figured were important features. However, Batman was there, and very few people would take a chance on me walking on to the screen. And they’d be taking people away from the story. So I decided that since so many people love Batman, I might as well love it too. Why not? So I began to reengage myself with Batman. And I saw the comedy. I saw the love people had for it, and I just embraced it.”

West made his feature debut in 1959’s “The Young Philadelphians,” starring Paul Newman.

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Before he donned the mask and cape, West was a rising star in late 1950s and early 1960s TV series, notably Westerns and cop shows. He logged roles on “Lawman,” “Cheyenne,” “The FBI Story,” “Colt .45,” “77 Sunset Strip,” “Maverick,” “Hawaiian Eye,” “Bonanza,” “The Rifleman,” “Perry Mason,” “Gunsmoke,” “The Real McCoys,” “Bewitched,” “The Outer Limits” and “The Virginian,” among other programs. He was a series regular on the 1959-62 drama series “The Detectives” (which aired on ABC and later NBC), playing a police sergeant.

His film roles in this period were few and far between but included a part in the 1965 Three Stooges vehicle “The Outlaws Is Coming.”

“He was bright, witty and fun to work with,” Julie Newmar, who played Catwoman to West’s Batman, said in a statement Saturday.

“I will miss him in the physical world and savor him always in the world of imagination and creativity.”

Born William West Anderson in Walla Walla, Washington, he moved to Seattle at age 15 with his mother after his parents divorced.

He graduated from Whitman College, a private liberal arts school, in Walla Walla.

After serving in the Army, he went to Hollywood and changed his name to Adam West, and began appearing on a number of television series, including “Bonanza,” “Perry Mason” and “Bewitched.”

In April 2012, West received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Most recently he did the voice of nutty Mayor Adam West in the long-running “Family Guy” series. And in February 2016, West made an appearance on the CBS sitcom “The Big Bang Theory’s” 200th episode, which marked the 50th anniversary of “Batman.”

West was married three times, and had six children. He had homes in Los Angeles and Palm Springs, but he and his wife, Marcelle, spent most of their time at their ranch near Sun Valley, Idaho.

Rest in peace brother and thanks for the memories.

~Dean James

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