Burt Ward is speaking out on the death of his Batman co-star and dear friend, Adam West. The TV icon, who starred with Ward for two years on the Batman TV series died at age 88 after a short battle with leukemia. In a statement posted by Variety, Burt Ward said he is devastated by the loss of his close friend of more than 50 years.
“I am devastated at the loss of one my very dearest friends,” Burt Ward said in a statement.
“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 that is and always will be Adam West. He was truly the Bright Night.”
Burt Ward worked With Adam West for three TV seasons, from 1966 to 1968, on the campy Batman series, playing the Caped Crusader’s wingman, Robin. While the show logged a fast and furious 120 episodes before being canceled, the two men enjoyed a lifelong friendship. West and Ward were frequent fixtures on the fan expo and Comic-Con circuit. In fact, Ward told Variety he last saw his caped co-star just two weeks ago when they traveled across the country together for an autograph show.
In a 2014 interview with USA Today, Burt Ward said there was only one true Caped Crusader, despite the movie versions of the character played by Michael Keaton, Ben Affleck, and Christian Bale.
“I thought every one of the actors who portrayed Batman in the feature films did a great job,” Ward said.
“But they were all actors. In my opinion, Adam was — is — the only Batman.”
In addition to Burt Ward, many other celebrities took to social media to pay their respects to West, including Star Wars icon Mark Hamill, who also worked with the TV legend on an animated short film in 2005, Star Trek alum George Takei, and fellow Batman, Ben Affleck.
Burt Ward landed the role of Dick Grayson, aka Robin the Boy Wonder, while selling real estate in Beverly Hills with his father. Burt sold a home to Hollywood producer Saul David, who then sent him to see an agent. It wasn’t long before Burt was in front of TV casting directors and was teamed up with Adam for the role of a lifetime.
In an interview with Slice of Sci-Fi, Burt Ward dished on Batman secrets, revealing that both he and his co-star had stunt men but that his was never used because he didn’t look like him.
“Whenever there was something dangerous (which seemed to be in every episode) they always said, ‘Use Burt,'” Ward revealed.
“So, I was always getting hurt. Because my stuntman was off having coffee with Adam West! i’ll never forget that the very first shot on the very first day in the Batmobile, I’m dressed in my costume, we come barreling out of the Batcave, I noticed that Adam wasn’t driving. I said, ‘Why are you driving? Why are you in the costume?’ He said, ‘I am a stuntman. I’m a specialist in racing cars.’ I said, ‘Oh. Why am I here? Don’t I have a stunt man?’ ‘You have one. He’s over there having coffee with Adam West.’ I said, ‘What’s going on here? …For three and a half years, in prime time, I had a wonderful stunt man but I did all the stunts because he didn’t look like me!'”
Last year, West, Ward, and fellow Batman alum Julie Newman teamed up one final time to voice the animated film, Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders. In an interview posted by MeTV to promote the project, Ward and his co-star revealed some secrets from the set, including how Adam came up with the Batsui dance while driving. Burt Ward also revealed that Frank Sinatra really wanted to the play the Joker on the TV series. Now that would have been something.
Take a look at the clip below to see Burt Ward working with the late TV legend.
[Featured Image by Stephen Shugerman/Getty Images]