Adam West, the actor who played Batman for three seasons on TV in the 1960s and became a pop culture icon, passed away on Friday (June 9th) at the age of 88. A family spokesperson told Deadline that the cause of death was leukemia and that West was surrounded by family when he went. West was also known for playing a parody of himself, "Mayor Adam West," on Family Guy and also made several appearances on The Big Bang Theory, while also starring in more than 50 movies.
But it was his candy-colored turn as the Caped Crusader that will remain his legacy. An instant smash when it debuted in January 1966, Batman became known for its campy tone and bold, pop-art colors and visuals, while making West the definitive version of Batman for a generation of young viewers.
Batman ran for 120 episodes and also featured Burt Ward as Robin, along with memorable guest villains like Cesar Romero's Joker, Frank Gorshin's Riddler, Julie Newman as Catwoman and Burgess Meredith as the Penguin.Although West struggled to find work after Batman ended, due to the show's typecasting, he eventually gained a new following of younger fans and remained a beloved pop culture figure.West's family said in a statement, “Our dad always saw himself as The Bright Knight and aspired to make a positive impact on his fans’ lives. He was and always will be our hero.”Ben Affleck, who currently wears the Dark Knight's cowl on the big screen, said, "Adam West exemplified heroism. Kind, funny and an all around great guy. Thank you for showing us all how it's done."Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane said, "I am beyond fortunate to have had the privilege of working with him, and he will be profoundly missed by all of us.”West is survived by his wife Marcelle, six children, five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
Burt Ward issued a statement in which he 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."