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TV and film icon Adam West passed away Friday evening after a brief battle with leukemia. The actor was 88.
MSN writes that West “died peacefully surrounded by his family and is survived by his wife Marcelle, six children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.” In a prepared statement, his family said: “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.”
West (original name: William West Anderson) was born in Walla Walla, Washington on September 28, 1928. His father was a wheat farmer and his mother, a concert pianist and opera singer.
Following the divorce of his parents, West moved with his mother to Seattle.
After graduating Whitman College, West entered the military where he “served as an announcer on American Forces Network television, then worked as the station manager at Stanford while he was a graduate student,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.
West began his television career rather inauspiciously as a presenter on the El Kini Popo Show in Hawaii. His co-star was a monkey named Peaches. From there, his star began to rise as he landed parts on Bewitched, Petticoat Junction, Gunsmoke, and The Outer Limits. All of this led to his iconic role as Batman in the 1966 movie and television show.
Following the cancelation of Batman in 1968, West had difficulty finding work, as he was frequently typecast. However, his filmography is lengthy. West appeared in several televisions shows, including Night Gallery, Mannix, and Emergency! He also popped up in numerous made-for-TV movies and the final Three Stooges theatrical film, The Outlaws Is Coming.
In the 1990’s, West had a career renaissance of sorts, doing voiceover work for Batman: The Animated Series, Rugrats, The Critic, and Animaniancs. He also continued to land guest roles on television shows like Diagnosis Murder, Murphy Brown, and Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.
It wasn’t until the early 2000’s that the Adam West of the younger generation was born. Beginning in 2000, West lent his voice to a bonkers version of himself, Mayor Adam West of Quahog, Rhode Island, in Fox’s Family Guy. West voiced his parody-self in more than 100 episodes.
Regardless of the generation from which you hail, Adam West has likely made an indelible mark on your life. He was either the Batman of your childhood, the ubiquitous television guest star throughout the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s, or the lovably insane Mayor West on Family Guy.
He will be deeply missed. So long, Batman.