Hollywood has lost yet another icon.
Adam West, whose acting career spanned well over 30 years, died at the age of 88 on June 9. He was best known for his role in the 1960s ABC TV show Batman, and in his later years for his voice on Family Guy. His real name was William West Anderson.
A representative confirmed West’s death June 10, saying that he died in Los Angeles after losing a short battle with leukemia.
“Our dad always saw himself as The Bright Knight, and aspired to make a positive impact on his fans’ lives,” his family said in a statement. “He was and always will be our hero.”
West, who was born in Walla Walla, Washington on September 19, 1928, saw his acting career start in the late 1950s when he was selected to be a sidekick on a children’s TV show called El Kini Popo Show. Soon enough, West met his first wife, and the couple had two children. The family moved to Hollywood a short while later, and that’s where West coined his stage name.
In his 1994 autobiography Back to the Batcave, West said that he chose to go by “Adam West” because he was a fan of the way his middle name, West, sounded as his last name. He said that his close family members and friends still referred to him as William, or Bill.
Shortly after starring in the children’s show, West saw his career take off. He appeared in the 1959 movie The Young Philadelphians alongside Paul Newman, and from then on, he was never short of opportunities for work.
Here’s a look at some of the best acting performances from West’s career in Hollywood.
West was cast as Bruce Wayne in the 1966 TV show Batman by producer William Dozier, who thought he’d be good for the role after seeing him in a commercial.
The show was known for its “Wham! Pow!” exclamations on screen and flamboyant villains. It became a surprise his on ABC.
As Batman, West saw a rise to stardom. He once appeared — in his Batman costume — in a public service announcement encouraging schoolchildren to purchase U.S. Savings stamps to support the Vietnam War.
The show ran from 1966-68, and a full-length movie was made in 1966. After acting as Batman, West was typecast for a majority of his career and re-prised the role in many other movies and TV shows.
Arguably his second-biggest role in his career — and one the younger generations know him best for — is as the mayor of Quahog in the animated comedy Family Guy.
His name on the show was also Adam West, and he started on the show in 2000. As mayor, West made regular appearances on the show, portraying a character that acted like a lunatic at times.
Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane said that he went out of his way to avoid typecasting West, and didn’t make any references to Batman.
The Outlaws Is Coming
West had a role in The Three Stooges’ movie The Outlaws Is Coming in 1959. It was one of his first roles on a movie screen.
West played Cabot, an editor at a Boston magazine, in the film. He spoke about how fun it was to appear in the film on A&E’s Biography.
What a wonderful experience! Our first meeting at the Columbia ranch, one morning quite early, and I went in to makeup and got on my western duds and came out in the street. And I saw Larry Fine sitting in a chair and I think his wife was yelling at him about something. Actually, the guys were very serious off camera, their demeanors. They were very serious artists in their own way and I was surprised how quiet they were in respect to their screen personae.
West starred in the 1962 film, which follows the events that led up to the surrender of Geronimo in 1886. West played Lieutenant John Delahay in the film.
Robinson Crusoe on Mars
In 1964, West found his way to the big screen again in the famed sci-fi film that was based on the classic novel Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe.
In the movie, West played Colonel Dan McReady, an astronaut that lands his spaceship on Mars.