Adam West, whose acting career began in the 1950s and remained busy right up to the present day, has died after a short battle with leukemia, according to The Hollywood Reporter. He was 88 years old.
Before he landed the role that would define his career, the actor began appearing on television in 1959 as a contract player for Warner Bros., making guest appearances on a variety of shows. He also started to score supporting roles in movies, such as the sci-fi adventure Robinson Crusoe on Mars.
Reportedly, it was West’s appearance in a series of TV spots that prompted producer William Dozier to offer him the role of Bruce Wayne, also known as Batman.
The series debuted in January 1966, with each one-hour show split into two episodes for broadcast on Wednesday and Thursday nights. It quickly became a smash hit, standing out for its witty humor, campy tone and colorful visuals. To promote the TV show, a feature-length movie was produced, which was released two months after the first season concluded.
The show introduced the villainous Joker, Penguin, Riddler, Catwoman, King Tut, Mr. Freeze, Mad Hatter and other villains to the world in general. The ratings began to drop, however, and the show was cancelled after the third season.
Typecast as Batman, West found himself limited to making guest appearances on TV shows again. He contributed his deep, smoky voice as Batman in the animated shows The New Adventures of Batman, SuperFriends: The Legendary Super Powers Show and Batman: The Animated Series; he also began appearing as himself on a variety of shows.
In 2000, Seth MacFarlane invited West to join the voice cast of Family Guy as Mayor Adam West; he appeared in more than 100 episodes.
The 2014 documentary Starring Adam West celebrated the actor’s life and career.
Adam West’s voice will be heard for one final time as Bruce Wayne in the upcoming animated Batman vs. Two-Face.