Adam West, best known for playing Batman in the 1960’s TV series, has passed away at the age of 88.
Before he became forever etched in the annals of nerd culture, West had already made his debut on the big screen. He had parts in movies such as Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964) and The Young Philadelphians (1959). Then came the big break. Batman producer William Dozier saw West in a commercial for Nestle’s Quik. At the time, West was filming in Europe. Once back in the States, West met with Dozier to read the script for the pilot. West stated that he knew “after 20 pages” he was in. He signed the contract on the spot with the condition that he approved the actor to play Robin.
The Batman TV series would go on for three seasons and was nominated for an Emmy in its first year. After the show, West had a hard time finding work. He would appear at car shows in the famous cape and cowl and star in films most people never heard of. After years of unsuccessful ventures, the next big break would come. West worked with creator Seth McFarlane on a pilot that McFarlane had written for West. While that pilot didn’t work out, McFarlane didn’t forget about Adam West.
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 fun.
That next big break came in the form of Mayor Adam West, the bumbling mayor of Quahog on the hit Family Guy. The character is a parody of the actor and highlights just how brilliant West is. Mayor Adam West shot the real Adam West back into the spotlight. While older audiences remember his zaniness as Batman, West introduced his comedic genius to a new generation. After years of struggling to find steady work, Adam West was a star again.
In 2012, West received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. At Comic-Con in 2014, he talked about the cancellation of Batman. For a while, he believed it was the end of his career. Then he realized the impact the show had.
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
Adam West is survived by his wife Marcelle, six children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. RIP Adam West. Thank you for the memories.