At the time of this writing, Adam West would have been 90 years old today. A true Hollywood superstar who has been acting regularly from the beginning of television till the end of his life in 2017 when he died after a short battle with leukemia in Los Angeles. Because I love this guy so much and I want to pay tribute to him, I’m going to tell you all the most interesting things I know about Adam West.
- Born William West Anderson in Walla Walla, Washington in 1928, West always intended to move to Hollywood to become an actor even when he was in high school.
- He participated in the speech and debate team when he was in college, and after being drafted in the U.S. Army, he served as the television announcer for the American Forces Network.
- After the Army he moved to Hawaii to find acting work and was picked as the sidekick in a local Hawaiian TV series called The Kino Popo Show (which according to my research co-starred a chimpanzee named Peaches), and West was later elevated from sidekick to host.
- He acted in several movies alongside such celebrities as Paul Newman in The Young Philadelphians and The Three Stooges in their last feature film The Outlaws Is Coming in 1965.
- He has acted in countless TV series throughout the years including westerns like The Rifleman, Laramie, Sugarfoot, Colt. 45 and Lawman, crime dramas like Johnny Midnight, The Detectives and Perry Mason, and sci-fi series like The Outer Limits.
- Adam West’s most famous role was definitely Batman in the ABC series that ran from 1966 to 1968, but that show was so huge that it made it difficult to escape the Batman image when he played serious roles, something that resulted in the 1969 film The Girl Who Knew Too Much failing at the box office.
- He reprised the role of Batman several times after the show went off the air, including in public service announcements, a wrestling cameo, a live-action TV special called Legends of the Superheroes, and in animation with The New Adventures of Batman, Super Friends and in the straight-to-video movies Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders and Batman vs. Two-Face.
- He had an eclectic acting resume in television but surprisingly he may have been chosen to play Batman after a Nestle’ Quik commercial in which he played the James Bond-like Captain Q.
- He was chosen to play Batman over Lyle Waggoner, but Waggoner would go on to another series based on a DC comic when he starred as Steve Trevor in Wonder Woman alongside Lynda Carter.
- He was almost cast as Bruce Wayne’s father Thomas Wayne in Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman, but he reportedly would have rather played Batman himself.
- Batman isn’t the only DC character Adam West has played. In Batman: The Animated Series he played Gray Ghost, he had a recurring role in The Batman as Mayor Grange, and in Batman: The Brave and the Bold he finally played the role he turned down earlier, Thomas Wayne.
- This man has acted in countless shows. Besides the ones I’ve already mentioned, there are Zorro, Maverick, Bonanza, The Big Valley, Night Gallery, Mannix, Emergency!, Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, Hart to Hart, Diagnosis: Murder, Laverne & Shirley, Bewitched, The King of Queens, Murphy Brown, Newsradio, George Lopez, The Drew Carey Show, 30 Rock, The Big Bang Theory, Goosebumps and The Adventures of Pete & Pete.
- He has voiced many animated characters (mostly himself) such as in The Simpsons, Futurama, Rugrats, Animaniacs, SpongeBob SquarePants, The Fairly Oddparents, Histeria!, Johnny Bravo, Kim Possible, Robot Chicken and the 2006 Disney film Meet the Robinsons.
- While Conan O’Brien and Robert Smigel were writing for Saturday Night Live, they had pitched a series to NBC starring Adam West called Lookwell about a has-been actor who solves crimes. The pilot aired but NBC passed on it, despite the fact that NBC chairman Brandon Tartikoff was a fan.
- By far my favorite role of Adam West’s, and probably his wackiest, was as the psychotic mayor of Quahog, Rhode Island in the animated sitcom Family Guy, in which he frequently appeared. He was always hilarious and completely unpredictable in every scene.
- Before Adam West died, he had acted in another DC series, the NBC workplace comedy Powerless about a group of weapons manufacturers. The show was cancelled before the episode had a chance to air, but after he died, NBC released it online.
I miss you Adam West. RIP.