An icon of nerd culture and the man behind easily the most distinctive and unique Batman portrayals ever broadcast, Adam West will always have a special place in hearts of people all over the world. As well as being at the core of all the camp and colourful nostalgia of nerd culture, he was famously cheerful and friendly, not to mention pro-active well past the age at which many people retire. Today it was announced by a representative of the West family that, at the age of 88, Adam West has died after “after a short battle with leukemia”.
His wife Marcelle, six children, five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren survive to mourn him. The family released a statement that made it clear just how much of a loss the world has suffered with his passing:
“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 began his career as a sidekick to a chimp on a Hawaiian children’s show called El Kini Popo Show.
He soon took over as the star and moved his family to Hollywood as it launched his career. He made his movie debut in The Young Philadelphians in 1959.
After bouncing around between television westerns, West was cast as billionaire vigilante Bruce Wayne in 1966. While he has openly said that the most appealing thing about the job at the time was the consistent paycheque, he fast become synonymous with the early days of Batman. He was chosen for the part after the producer saw West’s performance as Captain Q, a Bond-esque spy character, in a Nestle Quik commercial.
Since then, his extensive career has spanned all kinds of television, film and voice over work, all endowed with his famous light-heartedness and dedication to entertainment. As an actor, he has transcended the parts he has played and become part of the fabric of popular culture, even appearing as himself (and comedic version of himself) in many cameos.
And he has never lost touch with Batman. He claimed to have been “angry and disappointed” that he wasn’t offered the chance to reprise his role in Tim Burton’s Batman films, even though he was 60 at the time.
West worked well into his 80s and was well known for his positive attitude and love for everything he did.