The dark and brooding personality of Batman only came into existence after “Frank Miller” designed it in his masterpiece “The Dark Knight Returns,” before that Adam West’s friendly and comic Batman ruled the TV sets of the world.
Most of the 80’s and early 90’s kids may have seen Adam West’s Batman TV series reruns on the – “Same Bat-Time At the Same Bat-Channel,” but younglings have only seen him in the GIF memes doing his groovy dance.
Adam West was struggling with Leukemia, and earlier today he passed away surrounded by his family and friends at Los Angeles. Adam survives by his wife Marcelle with whom he got married in 1970, along with six children and many grandchildren.
Down to earth, Adam grew up on a Ranch near Walla Walla Wash. He is an outsider in the Hollywood, as he didn’t have family members to boost his career back then, but Adam’s passion for acting and positive attitude landed him a advertise that got him to play a Jame Bond-ish role for Nestle’s Quik. Adam’s charming personality attracted all the right eyeballs towards his performance, and Batman’s (1966) producer William Dozier asked him for an audition.
Adam knew the campy nature of the show, but he wanted to try his luck with the comedy. He said “Yes” to the role after getting selected in the auditions. However, West placed a condition for the studio that he wants to have a say on who is going to play the Robin. The studio agreed on that, and he approved Burt Ward to be his sidekick on the show, who had zero knowledge in acting, but he packed Karate brown belt and was athletic. Burt Ward played a fantastic Robin for the series, and he started his own journey in the Hollywood.
Before filming the pilot episode, nobody at Warner Bros had though that the Batman’s show was going to be such a massive hit internationally. However, when the pilot episode aired, it was utterly clear that this show was going to become an entertainment phenomenon because some all the right pieces fell in the right places.
Adam and Burt became household names after the earth-shattering response of the series, and they made the friendly version of Batman one of the most famous comic book character of their times.
When the series wrapped up, everybody thought that he is going to become a huge movie star, but it all went in an opposite direction. Batman’s show made him famous for playing the iconic vigilante, but the show also typecasted him. All the offers that he was receiving after finishing the Batman’s show were either comedy or voice overs that Adam kept on denying.
His fame fizzled out after few years of absence from the TV sets, and he started accepting smaller roles and voice-over gigs. This is how Adam explained his frustrations of those times during an interview in 2013 –
“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, which there was no real creative thought, expertise or art behind it. They were wrong.”
West’s family even had to downsize their home, but Adam was a well read “English Literature” graduate, who had also served in the Army, he knew he had a penchant for acting, that’s what he had been doing all his life. He had a fire in his belly to get back in the game.
He started grabbing all the voice overs of Batman in the famous cartoons like The New Adventures of Batman, Legends of the Superheroes, SuperFriends: The Legendary Super Powers Show. He had a soothing, velvety voice, which people loved, and he nurtured it over the years to get his famous part in distinguished shows like Simpsons and Family Guy!
On the other hand, Batman’s character kept on growing which raised Adam to a Legendary status in the Hollywood. In 2012 Adam received the glorious and much deserved “The Hollywood Hall Of Fame.”
Adam was invited as a celebrity in the comic cons across the globe for all these years, and in 2014 he gave a small speech that touched everybody’s, heart. He shared his experience like this:-
“When Batman was canceled, the only thing I thought is that it would be the end of me, and it was for a bit, 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.”