Adam West, the actor best known for his role as Batman in the 1960s television series, has died at the age of 88 from a battle with leukemia late on Friday night. West's family shared a statement with Variety to confirm the news. The family offered this to fans.
"Our dad always saw himself as the Bright Knight, and aspired to make a positive impact on his fans' lives. He was and will always be our hero."
For many, Adam West was their introduction to the world of Batman, and for some, he was the only Batman that mattered. One of West's many talents as an actor was not taking himself too seriously. He could keep a straight face through the most absurd moments, while keeping the fun going on the campy 60's television show. He could surf with the joker, dance with Catwoman while doing the "Batusi," campaigning for mayor of Gotham alongside the Penguin, or not being able to find a safe place to throw a bomb, just to name a few. West performed all of these acts with tongue pressed firmly in cheek, bringing joy to millions over the decades.
West's portrayal of Batman was much different than what came afterwards. Michael Keaton started with a dark version of the hero that has stuck all the way through to Ben Affleck. West was asked to rank the many different versions of the caped crusader on an episode of The Big Bang Theory and his ranking was as follows: "It should be me, Keaton, Kilmer, Lego, Bale, and that pretty boy Clooney." West was always able to keep his sense of humor intact while watching other actors step into his shoes. And new fans of Batman were always in for a treat to get introduced to the lighthearted 60s version through numerous home video releases as well as constant reruns of the campy show.
Another way that West broke through to new generations was through his hilarious voice acting work on Seth MacFarlane's Family Guy series. West took on the role of Mayor Adam West, a highly delusional, odd politician that eventually became Peter Griffin's brother-in-law after marrying Lois' sister. West also voiced characters on Adventures of Batman, Legends of the Superheroes, and The Simpsons. In addition, West lent talents to DC Comics comedy series Powerless, where he played the character Chairman West as well as narrating the show.
In addition to West's family, Hollywood has taken to social media to mourn the loss of Adam West. Burt Ward, who played the role of Robin alongside West shared that he was "devastated at the loss of one of my dearest friends." Ward says this.
"Adam and I had a special friendship for more than 50 years. We shared some of the most fun of our lives together... there were several fine actors who have portrayed Batman in films, in my eyes there was only one real Batman and that is and will always be Adam West; He truly was the Bright Knight."
Another Batman costar Julie Newmar, aka Catwoman, shared a statement as well on the actor's death.
"Stellar, exemplar, a king to the end. 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."
Seth MacFarlane, Mark Hamill, Conan O'Brien, James Gunn, Michael McKean, Will Arnett, George Takei, Kumail Nanjiani, Jamie Lee Curtis, Elijah Wood, Neil Gaman, Val Kilmer, LeVar Burton, Stephen Glickman, Edgar Wright, Robin Lord Taylor, Ben Sherman, and many, many more took to social media to share their thoughts on the passing of Adam West. You can read those posts below.
God Bless Adam West pic.twitter.com/9OK7kHNZHS— Conan O'Brien (@ConanOBrien) June 10, 2017
Farewell, Adam West.— Michael McKean (@MJMcKean) June 10, 2017
RIP Adam West. You will always be Batman— Will Arnett™ (@arnettwill) June 10, 2017
RIP Adam West. You'll always be Batman to me.— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) June 10, 2017
RIP Adam West. First person I saw who was funny, badass & cool all at once.— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) June 10, 2017
Holy heartbreak Batman. Adam West was a big part of my childhood. We were acquaintances in my adulthood. A wonderful man who will b missed.— Jamie Lee Curtis (@jamieleecurtis) June 10, 2017
Sad to hear of Adam West's passing. A legend as Batman but also, Ty Lookwell https://t.co/BtEBu6uH49— Elijah Wood (@elijahwood) June 10, 2017
Rest in Peace Adam West. We met once in 1987 and I was too embarrassed and too foolishly "cool" to tell you what you meant to my childhood.— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) June 10, 2017
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
Farewell Adam West. You were MY Batman. Such a super funny, cool, charismatic actor. Loved the show as a kid, still love the show now. POW! pic.twitter.com/6QAZnOhtMs— edgarwright (@edgarwright) 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