One place that legendary actor Adam West will be missed sorely is the fictional town of Quahog. West passed away in Los Angeles at the age of 88 on June 9. Since 2000, West was best known for his role, playing himself on Family Guy. West really did voice the character in every appearance while into his 80s. That’s despite the fact the character seemingly mocked West’s apparent eccentricities.
His last appearance was in the May 21 episode, Dearly Deported. In total, he voiced the character in 111 episodes of the hit show.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Mayor West’s Tenure Was Based on Clint Eastwood’s Political Career
The idea of having West as the mayor of Quahog was a reference to Clint Eastwood’s time as the mayor of Carmel in California during the 1980s. Though creator Seth MacFarlane was keen to avoid typecasting West so there were no Batman references in his character. In 1992, West made his first appearance to a new generation in the “Mr. Plow” episode of The Simpsons. West played an exaggerated version of himself, demonstrating some of the eccentricities that defined his Family Guy character. The episode’s writer, Jon Vitti, later admitted that he crowbarred West into the episode so that he could finally meet him. The Simpsons creator Matt Groening said that West is among the most popular guest actors the show’s staff has ever worked with.
2. MacFarlane & West First Became Close While Working on Johnny Bravo
MacFarlane first came in contact with West while the pair worked together on the Cartoon Network series Johnny Bravo. In a January 2005 interview with the AV Club, MacFarlane explained why he chose West:
The character we’ve created is kind of this alternate-universe Adam West where he’s mayor of this town, and we deliberately have not made any references to Batman, because we like keeping that separate. It’s the obvious place to go.
We tried it, we thought it would be funny to do something different with the mayor of this town. People like Clint Eastwood and Martin Sheen who have taken whacks at this sort of thing–there’s a precedent for it, actors getting into politics.
He’s the mayor, but he’s this guy who clearly does not have it all together. The first couple episodes we did, we got a great response from fans in their teens, who I can’t imagine, necessarily, know who he is from the old Batman show. He’s one of the characters we get the most requests for more of.
It’s nice, because to me it means we’ve built a funny character around him that doesn’t just play off of the fact that he’s a celebrity. He’s playing himself, but he’s not playing himself.
3. West Said the ‘Family Guy’ Writers Constantly Demanded ‘More, More, More’ While He Was Recording the Voice
While West told IGN about his take on how he came to the role in April 2012:
I had done a pilot with Seth [MacFarlane] that he had written for me. It turned out we had the same kind of comic sensibilities and got along well.
When Family Guy came around and Seth became brilliantly successful, he decided to call me and see what I was doing, He asked if I would like to come aboard as the Mayor, and I thought it would be neat to do something sort of absurd and fun.
West went on to say that when he records the voice, the writers constantly demand, “More, more, more.” He also said that the creators are always open to improvisation saying, “The wonderful thing with some of the things I’ve done – most of them, really – is to be trusted. To be able to do your thing, to work on it, hone it into my gem of creativity!”
4. Never Forget, West Was Peter Griffin’s Brother-in-Law
Arguably, West’s most significant contribution to the Family Guy universe was his 2011 marriage to Lois Griffin’s sister, Carol, in the episode “Brothers and Sisters.” While in the episode, “Dr. C and the Women,” it’s strongly hinted that West’s eccentricities are merely a smokescreen to hide his murderous side.
5. Seth MacFarlane Does an Excellent Adam West Impression
As the Guardian noted in a 2014 feature on West, Seth MacFarlane does a “killer” Adam West impression. West said of the impression, “I love the way you describe that. Yes, it’s so fascinating to see what they do with me that I can’t take my eyes off myself or any screen on which I might be appearing! Like I said, I’m the luckiest actor in the world.”