Adam West, best known for his portrayal of Batman in the campy ’60s TV classic, has died after a brief battle with leukemia.
West, according to media reports, died peacefully on Friday surrounded by his family. He is survived by his wife Marcelle, their six children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. The family released a short statement about West’s 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 reprised his classic “Bright Knight” Batman role just last year in animated form.
West was consistently active in the Batman fan community over the years, and continued to make the rounds on the convention circuit. We talked to him at New York Comic Con in October about the rejuvenation of his version of Batman. You can watch that interview above.
West’s portrayal elevated Batman’s status from comic book hero to pop culture icon.
The TV series which ran for two years was a cultural atom bomb. West played a purposefully over-the-top version of the character which was fitting for the go-go times.
His stilted line readings and hammy bravado contributed to sense that the show was part parody, part avant-garde pop art.
While future adaptations would feature a darker, more serious approach to the character, it’s West who charted the on-screen course that Batman’s still on today.
Adam West was 88.