Jack of all trades was surely the perfect way to describe William “Adam” West Anderson. Born in Walla Walla, Washington, with a career that spans seven-decade, the Swedish decented West began his film career in 1959. Playing opposite Chuck Connors in 1962’s Geronimo, and his appearance in The Three Stooges, soon paved the way for in other roles in 1964’s Robinson Crusoe on Mars and 1965’s The Outlaws Is Coming, opposite Paul Mantee. On June 9, 2017 ,after a short battle with leukemia. West departed this life in Los Angeles. He was 88.
Although he had Hollywood dreams as a youth, West eventually graduated with a bachelor’s degree in literature and a minor in psychology from Whitman College. While at Whitman he was a member of the Gamma Zeta Chapter of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity, as well as the debate team. Eventually, West was drafted into the United States Army, where he served as an announcer on American Forces Network television. After his discharge, he worked as a milkman before moving to Hawaii to pursue television. In 1966, West received one of the biggest roles of his career.
After seeing West perform as Captain Q in a Nestle’ Quik commercial, producer William Dozier cast West as Bruce Wayne and his alter ego, Batman, in the iconic Batman television series. A staple on ABC from 1966 to 1968, the popular series catapulted West into super stardom. A feature film version was directed by Leslie H. Martinson and also released in 1966.
- Adam West as himself, and as Batman – Circa 1966
In 1970, West was offered the role of James Bond for the film Diamonds Are Forever. Although he did not accept the role, his offers never stopped. From 2000, West made regular appearances on the animated series Family Guy, on which he played kooky Mayor Adam West, the mayor of the fictional Quahog in Rhode Island. Despite no deliberate references to Batman, his role gained him a new generation of fans and added notoriety from those who already knew him. In addition, West also did voice work on The Fairly Odd Parents, and The Simpsons where he also portrayed fictional versions of himself. In 2016, he lent his distinctive pipes to the Warner Bros. Produced Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders.
West is survived by his wife Marcelle West six children, five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. With his memorable contributions to the entertainment industry, he will be sincerely missed.