Adam West

Discussion in 'Art & Culture' started by StrangerInAStrangeLand, Jun 18, 2017.

  1. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

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    Adam West (born William West Anderson; September 19, 1928 – June 9, 2017) was an American actor widely known for his role as Batman in the 1960s ABC series of the same name and its 1966 theatrical feature film. His career spanned 63 years.

    Adam West

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    West began acting in films in the 1950s. He played opposite Chuck Connors in Geronimo(1962) and The Three Stooges in The Outlaws Is Coming (1965). He also appeared in thescience fiction film Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964), and performed voice work on The Fairly OddParents (2001), The Simpsons (1992, 2002), and Family Guy (2000-2017), playing fictional versions of himself in all three.


    West was born on September 19, 1928, in Walla Walla, Washington.[1] His father was a farmer; his mother was an opera singer and concert pianist who was forced to abandon her own Hollywood dreams to care for her family.[2] Following her example, West stated to his father as a youth that he intended after school to go to Hollywood. He moved toSeattle with his mother when he was 15, following his parents' divorce.[3]

    West attended Walla Walla High School during his freshman and sophomore years, and later enrolled in Lakeside School in Seattle. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in literature and a minor in psychology from Whitman College[4] in Walla Walla, where he was a member of the Gamma Zeta Chapter of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity. He also participated on the speech and debate team. Drafted into the United States Army, he served as an announcer on American Forces Network television. After his discharge, he worked as a milkman before moving to Hawaii to pursue a career in television.


    While in Hawaii, West was picked for a role as the sidekick on a children's show called El Kini Popo Show, which featured a chimp. West later took over as star of the show.[5] In 1959, West moved with his wife and two children to Hollywood,[2] where he took the stage name Adam West.[6]

    He appeared in the film The Young Philadelphians which starred Paul Newman.[7] He had guest-star roles in a number of television Westerns. On three Warner Bros. westerns which aired on ABCSugarfoot, Colt .45, and Lawman—West played the role of Doc Holliday, the frontier dentist and gunfighter. He portrayed Wild Bill Hickok in the episode "Westbound Stage" of the 1960 NBC Western series Overland Trail, with William Bendixand Doug McClure.


    He guest-starred on Edmond O'Brien's syndicated crime drama Johnny Midnight,[8] and soon snagged a supporting role as police sergeant Steve Nelson in the crime drama, The Detectives Starring Robert Taylor.[9]

    On January 10, 1961, West appeared as a young, ambitious deputy who foolishly confronts a gunfighter named Clay Jackson, portrayed by Jock Mahoney, in the episode "The Man from Kansas" of the NBC Western series Laramie.[10]

    West made two guest appearances on Perry Mason in 1961 and 1962. His first role was as small-town journalist Dan Southern in "The Case of the Barefaced Witness".[11] His other role was as folk singer Pete Norland in "The Case of the Bogus Books".

    West starred in an episode of the ABC Outer Limits series titled "The Invisible Enemy".[13]He made a brief appearance in the film Soldier in the Rain starring Jackie Gleason andSteve McQueen,[14] and starred as Major Dan McCready, the ill-fated mission commander of Mars Gravity Probe 1 in the 1964 film Robinson Crusoe on Mars.[15] In 1965, he was cast in the comedy Western The Outlaws Is Coming, the last feature film starring The Three Stooges.[16] He played Christopher Rolf in the episode "Stopover" of ABC's The Rifleman, which aired on April 25, 1961.
     
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  3. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

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    Producer William Dozier cast West as Bruce Wayne and his alter ego, Batman, in the television series Batman, in part after seeing West perform as the James Bond-like spy Captain Q in a Nestlé Quik commercial. He was in competition with Lyle Waggoner for the Batman role.[17]

    The popular campy show ran on ABC from 1966 to 1968; a feature-length film version directed by Leslie H. Martinson was released in 1966.

    In 1970, West was offered the role of Bond by producer Albert Broccoli for the filmDiamonds Are Forever.[20] West did not accept, later stating in his autobiography that he believed the role should always be played by a British actor.


    After his high-profile role, West, along with Burt Ward and Yvonne Craig (who played crime-fighting sidekicks Robin and Batgirl), was severely typecast. West's first post-Caped Crusader role was in the film The Girl Who Knew Too Much (1969). His lead performance against type as cynical tough guy Johnny Cain did not erode his Batman image; the movie was a box office disappointment.

    West subsequently appeared in the theatrical films The Marriage of a Young Stockbrocker (1971),[23]The Curse of the Moon Child(1972),[24]The Specialist (1975),[25]Hooper (as himself; 1978),[26]The Happy Hooker Goes Hollywood (1980),[25]One Dark Night (1983)[27] and Young Lady Chatterley II (1985). West also appeared in such television films as The Eyes of Charles Sand (1972),[28]Poor Devil (1973),[29]Nevada Smith (1975),[30]For the Love of It (1980)[31]and I Take These Men (1983).

    He did guest shots on the television series; Maverick, Diagnosis: Murder, Love, American Style, Bonanza, The Big Valley, Night Gallery, Alias Smith and Jones, Mannix, Emergency!,Alice, Police Woman, Operation Petticoat, The American Girls, Vega$, Big Shamus, Little Shamus, Laverne & Shirley, Bewitched, Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, Hart to Hart, Zorro,The King of Queens, and George Lopez. West was also in an episode of Bonanza that supposedly never aired until reruns were shown and he made several guest appearances as himself on Family Feud. In 1986, he starred in the comedy police series titled The Last Precinct.

    Having a distinctive voice, West built a career doing voice-over work on a number of animated series (often as himself), including appearances on The Simpsons,[64]Futurama,[65]Rugrats,[66]Histeria!,[66]Kim Possible,[66]Johnny Bravo,[65] and even in an episode of Batman: The Animated Series called "Beware the Gray Ghost", where he voiced the Gray Ghost.

    West was married three times. His first marriage was to his college girlfriend Billie Lou Yeager in 1950. The couple divorced six years later. In 1957 he married Tahitian dancer Ngahra Frisbie Dawson with whom he had two children before their divorce in 1962. West then married Marcelle Tagand Lear in November 1970. They had two children and remained together for over 46 years, until Adam's death.[78] West also had two step-children.
    West said that he played Batman "for laughs, but in order to do [that], one had to never think it was funny. You just had to pull on that cowl and believe that no one would recognize you.".


    Adam West died in Los Angeles on June 9, 2017, following a brief battle with leukemia. He was 88.[1][82][83] On June 15, 2017, Los Angeles shined the Bat-Signal on City Hall as a posthumous tribute to West.

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