Sometimes typecasting isn’t such a bad thing.
Adam West was a working TV actor for more than a decade before being cast in the role that would define his career. As the title character on Batman, West brought a campy and colorful 1960s style to the Dark Knight, a mark that stuck with the actor up until his death on Friday, June 9, at the age of 88.
Rather than run from his past as the Caped Crusader, West embraced the character and his spot in pop culture. He routinely popped up on TV in guest spots as “himself” and often appeared in Batman documentaries and retrospectives (he also reprised the role in an animated movie released in 2016).
Past and present members of the Batman community paid respect to West following his passing. Among them, West’s sidekick throughout his adventures, Burt Ward.
“I am devastated at the loss of one of my very dearest friends. Adam and I had a special friendship for more than 50 years,” Ward, who played Robin on the series, told The Hollywood Reporter.
“We shared some of the most fun times of our lives together; our families have deep love and respect for each other. This is a terribly unexpected loss of my lifelong friend, I will forever miss him. There are several fine actors who have portrayed Batman in films, in my eyes there was only one real Batman and that is and always will be Adam West; He was truly the Bright Knight,” he added.
The current silver screen Batmans sent their thoughts via Twitter.
Adam West exemplified heroism. Kind, funny and an all around great guy. Thank you for showing us all how it’s done. @therealadamwest
— Ben Affleck (@BenAffleck) June 10, 2017
RIP Adam West. You will always be Batman
— Will Arnett™ (@arnettwill) June 10, 2017
Val Kilmer, who donned the cape and cowl in 1995’s Batman Forever, and Kevin Conroy, the voice actor who has portrayed Batman longer than anyone through various animated incarnations, also remembered West on Twitter.
Ah dear Adam West. He was always so kind when we met. A real gent. Once when I was a kid we found ourselves in front the batmobile. I got in
— Val Kilmer (@valkilmer) June 10, 2017
Adam West has passed. The Batman of my childhood. He brought us so much entertainment and was a truly class act. We’ll miss u Adam pic.twitter.com/5ddeOrUCSp
— Kevin Conroy (@RealKevinConroy) June 10, 2017
It wasn’t just the heroes paying homage, but villains as well. Former Riddler Jim Carrey (Batman Forever) and future Riddler Cory Michael Smith (Gotham) reminisced about West as did Robin Lord Taylor (The Penguin on Gotham) and Mark Hamill (voice of The Joker in Batman: The Animated Series).
When I was a kid POW BLAM Adam West was Batman! With his pal Robin and his tongue planted firmly in his cheek he brought me so much joy. ;^}
— Jim Carrey (@JimCarrey) June 11, 2017
RIP Adam West.
Thank you for the dance parties. pic.twitter.com/Cbgy1Qm4yH
— cory michael smith (@mister_CMS) June 10, 2017
Gotham City has lost a legend. Adam West was every bit as gracious and loving in person as you’d expect. @therealadamwest
— Robin Lord Taylor (@robinlordtaylor) June 10, 2017
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) June 10, 2017
Arguably West’s most worthy adversary, Julie Newmar (aka Catwoman), expressed her admiration toward her co-star in a statement.
“Stellar, exemplar, a king to the end,” she said. “He was bright, witty and fun to work with. I will miss him in the physical world and savor him always in the world of imagination and creativity. He meant so much to people. A friend said: ‘The father that we wanted.’ That is a great gift, no matter how you live it.”
Thanks to reruns, children born long after the series went of the air in 1968, grew up with West as Batman, but for today’s audiences, he’s arguably remembered just as fondly for his characterization of himself on Family Guy. That show’s creator, Seth MacFarlane, tweeted a letter about his friend.
— Seth MacFarlane (@SethMacFarlane) June 10, 2017
Gone, but certainly not forgotten, West’s legacy as Batman will live on for generations to come.
(Photo Credit: Twitter)