The star of the iconic 1966 Batman TV series, Adam West, died on 9 June 2017 at the age of 88, after a brief battle with leukaemia. West died peacefully in Los Angeles with his family by his side, and is survived by his wife Marcelle, six children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. “Our dad always saw himself as The Bright Knight and aspired to make a positive impact on his fans' lives,” said a statement released by West’s family. “He was and always will be our hero.”
While Lewis Wilson and Robert Lowery had played Batman before West in black-and-white movie serials, West is often called the original onscreen Batman. West starred in a Batman feature film the same year the TV series premiered, and the light-hearted, campy take on Batman with its over-the-top villains, facepalm-inducing jokes and celebrity cameos galore, quickly became a pop culture phenomenon.
West starred alongside Burt Ward, who played Batman’s sidekick Robin. Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, Ward called his late co-star an “amazing talent, a great father, a great family man, a wonderful human being” whom he would “miss incredibly.” Ward added soberly that “it's very difficult to really believe that the end has come.”
West struggled to find acting roles after the conclusion of the Batman series, as he had become typecast. Later in his career, West found success poking fun at his iconic status and spoofing his tenure as Batman, including playing himself in The Simpsons and voicing Mayor Adam West in the animated series Family Guy. West recently reprised his role as Batman, returning to voice the character in the animated film Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders, alongside Ward as Robin and Julie Newmar as Catwoman. "Adam West was the best Batman of all time,” Newmar said. “I don't think there'll be one to compare with him.”
Ben Affleck, the current actor donning the cape and cowl on the big screen, also paid tribute to West. Affleck wrote on Twitter that West " exemplified heroism," calling him "Kind, funny and an all around great guy.” Affleck concluded by thanking West for “showing us all how it's done."