On Friday a source close to Adam West told Variety TV’s original Batman and voice-over veteran passed away after a short battle with leukemia. He was 88. West lent his voice to a range of roles on television, most recently the long-running Fox’s Family Guy as the vain and incompetent fictional Mayor Adam West of Quahog, Rhode Island.
West’s family paid tribute, releasing this statement to his fans: “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 previously told Variety that despite a rise to fame for voicing TV’s first Batman in 1966-68, he wanted to shed the persona after having trouble scoring acting gigs, until he later accepted it. “There was a time when Batman really kept me from getting some pretty good roles, and I was asked to do what I figured were important features. However, Batman was there, and very few people would take a chance on me walking on to the screen. And they’d be taking people away from the story. So I decided that since so many people love Batman, I might as well love it too. Why not? So I began to reengage myself with Batman. And I saw the comedy. I saw the love people had for it, and I just embraced it.”
Both West and Lyle Waggoner tried out for the part of Batman before West solidified the role. A PBS special revealed the show was aware of West’s slow dialogue and utilized it for eating up screen time.
Aside from working on various animated series throughout the years, producers cast West as a guest in many shows like 30 Rock, George Lopez, Powerless, The King of Queens and The Big Bang Theory.
West is survived by wife Marcelle, his six children, five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.