Legendary Batman actor struggled to throw off his alter ego in later career but remained beloved of fans
Adam West, who has died aged 88, was one of those actors who had to strive to “live down” not a failure but his greatest success. West, who was synonymous with the role of Batman in the vastly popular, campy TV series of 1966-68, could never escape his alter ego. Although he appeared in scores of films and television series throughout his long career, most reviewers, whatever the role, insisted on referring to him as “TV’s Batman”. However, it is fair to say that West, realising that he owed his fame to the Caped Crusader, was not averse to making oblique allusions to the character in some of his films, and often resorted to self-mockery.
The tall, well-built West, with chiselled good looks and a resonant baritone voice, was perfect casting for the upright all-American millionaire Bruce Wayne, who lives with his ward Dick Grayson in Wayne Manor. They secretly double as the masked Batman and Robin when called on the Batphone by Commissioner Gordon to catch a villain loose in Gotham City. The hugely successful Batman: The Movie (1966), brought together four outrageous villains – the Penguin (Burgess Meredith), the Catwoman (Lee Meriwether), the Joker (Cesar Romero) and the Riddler (Frank Gorshin) – to try to outwit the daring man and boy in tights.