Adam West

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Adam West as Batman

Adam West (born William West Anderson on September 19, 1928 in Walla Walla, Washington) is best known as the actor who played the role of Batman on the original television program that ran from 1966 to 1968.

Biography

West grew up reading the Batman comics. He graduated from nearby Whitman College where he majored in literature and psychology and was married. He served two years in the United States Army. He worked as a disc jockey, truck driver, and cowboy, then travelled with his wife around Europe, where he sometimes worked as a milkman. Eventually he settled in Hawaii where he got a role on a light entertainment show called The Kini Popo Show. In Hawaii he divorced his first wife and married a Hawaiian.

In the 1960s, various roles in films and television brought him to the attention of William Dozier, who cast him as Batman in the 1960s hit television series. West has said he was also invited to play James Bond after Sean Connery decided to give up the role, and that he was almost part of the three big B's of the 1960s: Bond, Batman, and The Beatles. The Batman show was internationally successful as light camp entertainment, running from 1966 to 1968 and even producing a feature film.

After the show ended, West was typecast as Batman and had trouble playing other roles; audiences identified him as Batman and no one else. Even his convincing lead performance as cynical tough guy Johnny Cain in the 1969 film The Girl Who Knew Too Much did not erode his Batman image.

He never stopped working after Batman and during the 1970s and 1980s appeared in a range of B-grade films and non-aired TV pilots, including The Happy Hooker Goes To Hollywood about the famed call girl, Xaviera Hollander.

During the 1990s he achieved partial cult status, appearing as himself in such films as The Size of Watermelons and Drop Dead Gorgeous. West has has also lent his voice to several animated television series, including The Simpsons and the animated Batman television series. In 1991 he starred in the pilot episode for Lookwell!, in which he portrayed a washed-up TV action hero who falsely believes he can solve crimes in real life. The pilot, written by Conan O'Brien and Robert Smigel, has accrued a reputation for being one of the funniest potential series not to be picked up by a network. It was later broadcast on the Trio channel.

West had a cameo appearance on the Fox animated version of Batman, Batman: The Animated Series. In the episode "Beware the Gray Ghost", West voices The Gray Ghost, a tribute to early superhero characters like The Shadow and the Crimson Avenger, and an early childhood inspiration to Bruce Wayne.

West makes semi-regular appearances on the animated series Family Guy, on which he plays Mayor Adam West, the near-lunatic mayor of fictional Quahog, Rhode Island (though "Mayor Adam West" was not originally intended to be voiced by the real Adam West.)

Adam West also appears on Nickelodeon's animated series The Fairly OddParents, with the same personality as Family Guy portrayed. A few episodes make fun of his role as Batman by casting him as Adam West, the superhero Catman and major Hollywood star. He also voiced cartoon roles on Kim Possible as Timothy North, a washed-up actor who believes he is the superhero he portrayed on televsion, The Fearless Feret. He also starred on the Cartoon Network series Johnny Bravo. In The Batman, he plays the mayor of Gotham City named Marion Grange

He is also a canny investor who has appeared on FOXs Cashin' In show about the stock market and investments in general. (Wayne Rogers is another investing actor who has appeared on the show).

Filmography

TV Work

References

  • West, Adam (1994). Back to the Batcave, Berkley. ISBN 0425143708.
  • Press kit notes for The Girl Who Knew Too Much

Simpsons as himself, Mr. plow episode, season 4

Quotes

  • "It was inescapable. I'd just about land something substantial, something I like or a good career move. Then some dinosaur would rear up and say, 'But the audience will think of him as Batman.' It was formidable. It was there like a brick wall." on being typecast as Batman

External links