10 Things You Didn’t Know About Batman’s Adam West

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10 Things You Didn’t Know About Batman’s Adam West

When you think of Batman, it is hard not to think of Adam West. He was the original Batman. Playing him in the campy 1966 TV Series, and on and over the years, all the way through his death in 2017. Furthermore, Batman is at the top of the American Superhero Pantheon, with the most iconic portrayals over the years.

This role impacted him as much as he did Pop culture, so let’s look at 10 interesting facts about his life.

1. He Had His Own Character In Family Guy

Adam West in Family Guy

When you have a character based on yourself in an animated show, you know you’ve had a big cultural impact. For over 18 years, West played a fictionalized version of himself called Mayor Adam West in Family Guy. After West own death in 2017, the character died offscreen. He also appeared as himself in The Fairly OddParents and in The Simpsons, among others.

2. He Served In The US Army

Like many actors through the 40s and 50s, West served in the US Army. He joined after he graduating with a minor in Psychology from Whitman College in 1949. At the Army, he worked as an announcer on American Forces Network Television until his discharge.

3. His Mother Inspired Him to Become An Actor

West was born as William West Anderson in Walla Walla, Washington. His mother was an opera singer and concert pianist who had to abandon her Hollywood dreams to care for her family. This inspired West to become an actor after finishing his education. He ended up moving to Hawaii to pursue a career in Television.

 

4. He Appeared in a The Three Stooges Film

The Outlaw Is Coming

A year before playing Batman, West appeared in a The Three Stooges film called The Owtlaws IS Coming. It was the sixth and final film for the Stooges 60s run of films at Columbia Pictures. The film follows West as Kenneth Cabot, the editor of a Boston magazine that goes to Casper, Wyoming to investigate a plot to kill off all the buffalo an cause the Indians to riot. At this time, the Stooges consisted of Moe, Larry, and Curly Joe.

5. He lived in Hawaii

West moved to Hawaii to start his career in TV after ending his participarion in the Army. There, he appeared in a couple TV shows. However, he was not feeling the sense of accomplishment he was looking for, and thus, decided to move to Hollywood in 1959. He moved with his wife and two children, although the couple would divorce two years later.

6. He Played Doc Holliday In Three Different Western TV Series

Adam West as Doc Holliday

In 1959, West played the same character in three different Western TV Shows. He played the infamous 19th century dentist, gambler, and gunfighter Doc Holliday. Holiday was known for his participation in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, and West played him in the TV Series Lawman, Sugarfoot, and Colt-45.

7. He Was Cast As Batman Over A Quik Commercial

Adam West in Batman

Without a doubt, the most iconic role played by West was Batman. What is very interesting is that he was cast after producer William Dozier saw a Nestlé Quik commercial where West played Captain Q, A James Bond-esque character. The commercial had a very tongue in cheek tone as it was oriented for a younger audience, which seemed like the perfect fit for the Batman TV Series.

The show was an initial phenomenon and very popular.  It went on for three seasons before its cancellation as ratings started to drop. West would later reunite with costar Burt Ward who played Robin in the 1977 animated series The New Adventures of Batman.

After the show, West was typecast and found it difficult to find work again. He continued voicing the character in several projects thereafter.

8. He Was Not Included In The In Memorian Section At The Oscars

West died in 2017 after a short battle with Leukemia, he was 88 years old. Many were surprised when the actor was not mentioned in the 90th Academy Awards In Memoriam section the following year. Some may assume that this was due to him being mainly known for his TV appareances, however he did appear in over 50 films throughout his career.

9. A Bat-signal Was Lit Up After His Death

After his death, the city of Los Angeles paid tribute to West by lighting up a Bat-signal at the City Hall. People were invited to dress as Batman. His family also set up the Adam West memorial Fund for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. A close friend of him for over 50 years and fellow costar, Burt Ward, spoke at his memorial.

10. His Final Batman Performance Released After His Death

Batman vs. Two-Face

His final appearance as Batman was in the animated film Batman vs. Two-Face which sadly premiered only four months after his death, in October 2017. The film is a sequel to 2016’s Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders.

At the end of the film, there is a tribute for West that reads: “In Loving Memory of Adam West (1928-2017). Rest well Bright Knight”.

Read next: Remembering Adam West: The Original Batman

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