Adam West, (born William West Anderson) the ardent actor who managed to keep his tongue in cheek while wearing the iconic cowl of the Caped Crusader on the classic 1960s series Batman, has died. He was 88.
West, who was at the pinnacle of pop culture after Batman debuted in January 1966, only to see his career fall victim to typecasting after the ABC show flamed out, died Friday night in Los Angeles after a short battle with leukemia, a family spokesperson said.
West died peacefully surrounded by his family and is survived by his wife Marcelle, six children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Batman debuted at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 12, 1966, a Wednesday. The cliffhanger episode would be resolved the very next night — Same Bat-time! Same Bat-channel!
The series, filmed in eye-popping bright colors in an era of black-and-white and featuring a revolving set of villains like the Riddler (Frank Gorshin), Joker (Cesar Romero), Penguin (Burgess Meredith) and Catwoman (Julie Newmar), was an immediate hit; the Thursday installment was No. 5 in the Nielsen ratings for the 1965-66 season, and the Wednesday edition was No. 10.