With Adam West‘s death at age 88 on Friday night, there are just two main actors from the beloved 1966-68 Batman TV series who are still with us. Burt Ward, who played Robin the Boy Wonder, and Julie Newmar, who starred as Catwoman in the first two seasons, are both still with us today.
John Astin, who played The Riddler for a season, is also still alive. Joan Collins, who played The Siren in two episodes, and Glynis Johnson, who played Lady Penelope Peasoup in four episodes, are also still alive.
West’s family announced his death on Facebook, writing that he died after a short battle with leukemia.
“There are no words to describe how much we’ll miss him. We know you’ll miss him too and we want you to know how much your love and support meant to him throughout the years,” his family wrote. “Hug your loved ones today.”
In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Ward remembered his good friend. Ward said:
“I am devastated at the loss of one of my very dearest friends. Adam and I had a special friendship for more than 50 years. We shared some of the most fun times of our lives together; our families have deep love and respect for each other. This is a terribly unexpected loss of my lifelong friend, I will forever miss him. There are several fine actors who have portrayed Batman in films, in my eyes there was only one real Batman and that is and always will be Adam West; He was truly the Bright Knight.”
Newmar also said in a statement:
“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 – A friend said: ‘The father that we wanted.’ That is a great gift, no matter how you live it.”
West, Newmar and Ward have both lived long enough to see a revival for their beloved series. Once dismissed as camp, the show finally began reaching a new wave of fans who might not be searching for the show on TV thanks to the historic 2014 Blu-ray release of the series. Thanks to complicated rights issues between Warner Bros. and show producer 20th Century Fox, the series was not available on DVD or Blu-ray until that year.
The show remains so popular that West, Newmar and Ward returned to voice their characters for Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders, an animated movie that was released on home video in 2016. DC Comics has also published comics and graphic novels that continue the adventures in the Batman ’66 universe.
Ward is now 71 years old and remains best known for playing Robin in Batman and Batman: The Movie. He remains a contributor to Batman retrospective features. In 2001, Ward tried running his own visual effects business, Boy Wonder Visual Effects, although it is no longer running.
In a 2011 interview with Slice of SiFi, Ward said he never wanted to shed his association with Batman or Robin. He explained:
I’ve done about thirty other movies and various projects for television but I’ve never been one of those people who wanted to shed the image. There are some actors who when someone comes up to them and calls them by their character’s name they say, “Oh, don’t call me that.” I have people call me Robin but I don’t correct them and say, “No, no, no. I’m Burt Ward.”
Newmar is now 83 years old. The daughter of a Zigfield girl, Newmar was already in movies by the time she was 18 years old. You can spot her in MGM’s Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. By 19, she was in Silk Stockings on Broadway. In 1958, she won a Tony for The Marriage-Go-Round. Today, Newmar is busy blogging on the site Julie Newmar Writes. Her most recent post was published in April.
Newmar also appeared in the Star Trek episode “Friday’s Child” and an episode of The Monkees. She can be seen in episodes of The Love Boat, CHiPS, Fantasy Island, The Beverly Hillbillies and other classics. And despite that long career, she has embraced the fact that many people only know her for playing Catwoman.
She has also used her fame to bring attention to noteworthy causes, like down syndrome. Her son, 35-year-old Jon Jewl Smith, was born with down syndrome.
Catwoman was played by the late singer Ertha Kitt in season three of Batman, while Lee Meriwether played the role in Batman: The Movie. Meriwether is still alive at age 82. “He’s the cause of the great expansion of my outlook on life. He’s responsible for my understanding and practice of unconditional love,” Newmar told Closer Weekly in 2016.
The other main castmembers for Batman are no longer with us. Yvonne Craig, who played Batgirl, died at age 78 in 2015. Alan Napier, who played Alfred, was 85 when he died in 1988. Neil Hamilton, who plated Commissioner Gordon, died in 1984 at age 85. Producer William Dozier, who was the brains behind the show and the narrator, died in 1991 at age 83.
The great actors who played the villains – Cesar Romero, David Wayne, Burges Meredith, Frank Gorshin, Eli Wallach, Otto Prminger, George Sanders, Carolyn Jones, Cliff Robertson, Anne Baxter, Milton Berle and Victor Buono, to name a few – are deceased. John Astin, who played the Riddler in season two, in place of Gorshin, is still alive at 87.
Astin is best known for playing Gomez Addams on The Addams Family and has an Oscar nomination for directing the 1968 short film Prelude. Astin also earned a Daytime Emmy nomination for voicing Gomez in the animated 1992-93 Addams Family series. He was last seen in 2016’s Starship II: Rendezvous with Ramses.