Adam West, the seminal player of the masked, caped crusader Batman in a role that bought both immense success and stagnancy to his overall career legacy, is now dead at the age of 88.
A spokesperson for the actor confirmed to Variety early Saturday morning that the entertainer succumbed to complications of leukemia, which West was apparently diagnosed with in the recent past.
“Our dad always saw himself as ‘The Bright Knight’ and aspired to make a positive impact on his fans’ lives,” family members of West would go on to relay in a short statement to the media.
“He was and always will be our hero.”
By mid-afternoon, a more expanse comment on West’s death was posted by the family on the actor’s official Facebook fan page.
“It’s with great sadness that we are sharing this news,” the note begins.
“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.”
Originally believed by many to become one of the few mainstream television stars to go on to have blockbuster success, West’s purposeful tongue-in-cheek portrayal of the campy version of the DC Comics superhero would, incidentally, cause status as an serious actor to almost immediately nosedive following the run of the three-season ABC serial in 1968.
In fact, Adam, who once acted alongside movie great Paul Newman in 1959’s The Young Philadelphians, wouldn’t actually secure another ongoing, prominent role until the early 2000’s, when screenwriter and comedian Seth MacFarlane invited West to play a “heightened” version of himself with a political twist, Mayor Adam West, on FOX’s animated series, Family Guy.
Incidentally, MacFarlane was one of the first entertainment notables personally attached to Adam West, to speak out on the sad news of the actor being dead.
“Family Guy has lost its mayor, and I have lost a friend,” Seth stated on Twitter, as JustJared reports.
“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,” MacFarlane continued.
“I am beyond fortunate to have had the privilege of working with him, and he will be profoundly missed by all of us. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you have given, Mr. Mayor. You’re irreplaceable.”
Born William West Anderson on September 19, 1928, West leaves behind a 63-year long acting legacy that spanned both television and movie productions up to his passing, including a 2016 appearance on The Big Bang Theory and his role as the narrator of Powerless, another DC Comics property, for NBC in 2017 (the show was cancelled midway through its first and only season in May, as TVLinenotes ).
Be that as it may, West once admitted that his dedication to Batman and his insistence to never turn his back on the role that brought him worldwide success, also hindered him from growing as an actor.
“There was a time when Batman really kept me from getting some pretty good roles, and I was asked to do what I figured were important features,” West himself once told Variety of life after Batman.
“However, Batman was there, and very few people would take a chance on me walking on to the screen. And they’d be taking people away from the story. So I decided that since so many people love Batman, I might as well love it too. Why not? So I began to reengage myself with Batman. And I saw the comedy. I saw the love people had for it, and I just embraced it.”
West is survived by his wife, Marcella and leaves behind six children, five grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
[Featured Image by Mike Coppola/Getty Images]