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Television’s first Batman, Adam West, dies

HOLLYWOOD — Flowers were placed on the Walk of Fame star of Adam West, best known for his campy portrayal of Batman in the 1966-68 ABC TV series, Hollywood Walk of Fame officials announced June 10.

West died June 9 at his Los Angeles home after a battle with leukemia. He was 88.

The flowers were placed on West’s star at 6764 Hollywood Blvd., in front of the Guinness Museum of World Records.

The West family released the following statement on Facebook:

“It’s with great sadness that we are sharing this news. … Adam West passed away peacefully last night after a short but brave battle with leukemia. He was a beloved father, husband, grandfather, and great-grandfather. 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. Hug your loved ones today.”

“I am devastated at the loss of one of my very dearest friends,” said Burt Ward, who played the superhero’s sidekick Robin on the 1960s TV show.

“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.”

West gained newfound fame in the last two decades as the voice of Mayor Adam West on Fox’s “Family Guy.” That show’s creater, Seth MacFarlane, also paid tribute to West on Twitter.

“‘Family Guy’ has lost its mayor and I have lost a friend,” MacFarlane wrote. “Adam West was a joy to work with, and the kind of guy you always wanted to be around. His positivity, good nature, and sense of fun were undeniable, and it was always a big jolt of the best kind of energy when he walked in to record the show. He knew comedy, and he knew humanity. … Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you have given, Mr. Mayor. You’re irreplaceable.”

West received the 2,468th star on the Walk of Fame in a 2012 ceremony.

“When I was a kid, Adam was my hero because of who he played,” Ralph Garman said at that ceremony. Garman, the entertainment reporter on KROQ-FM’s “Kevin and Bean” show, called West his hero.

“Adam’s Batman was everything to me,” Garman said. “He taught me right from wrong, good versus evil and most significantly, the importance of driving a really cool car.”

Born William West Anderson on Sept. 19, 1928, in Seattle and raised on a wheat ranch in Walla Walla, Wash., West began his career as a disc jockey and television show host. He arrived in Hollywood in 1959 after landing a contract with Warner Bros. and made his feature film debut that year opposite Paul Newman in “The Young Philadelphians.”

West appeared on such television series as “Maverick” and  “77 Sunset Strip” before getting his first regular series role on “The Detectives” in 1961. His other pre-“Batman” television credits include “Perry Mason,” “Bewitched,” “Gunsmoke” and “Petticoat Junction.” His recent live action credits include “30 Rock” and “George Lopez.”

West has made a record 156 individual screen appearances as Batman, including 120 in the live-action television series, along with several animated series.

 

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