The family has issued this statement, “Our dad always saw himself as The Bright Knight, and aspired to make a positive impact on his fans’ lives. He was and always will be our hero.”
I remember watching Batman on television when I was a child (yes, I am that old…) and loved the campiness of it even though I didn’t know it was campy. To a child it was fun and colorful and exciting. I even loved the villains because they were so much larger than life. I have always said that I am not really a comic book geek, but I suppose in a round about way I am a fan of the Bob Kane Batman in its television iteration. Talk about circuitous fandom.
When West took the role of Batman for television, early in his career, little did he know that would be almost his entire career. The role so defined the character and his work that he found it hard to find other cinematic work.
He was asked by Variety what the character of Batman has come to mean to him over five decades, West said: “Money. Some years ago I made an agreement with Batman. There was a time when Batman really kept me from getting some pretty good roles, and I was asked to do what I figured were important features. However, Batman was there, and very few people would take a chance on me walking on to the screen. And they’d be taking people away from the story. So I decided that since so many people love Batman, I might as well love it too. Why not? So I began to reengage myself with Batman. And I saw the comedy. I saw the love people had for it, and I just embraced it.”
West wrote two books in the 1990’s one entitled “Back to the Batcave”, and remained in demand for personal appearances. One of those was Phoenix Comicon in 2014, which the Two Gay Geeks were in attendance at the panel that not only featured West but, Burt Ward and Julie Newmar. It was such a great panel and the chemistry between the three was there form the moment they walked on stage.
West also appeared in the 200th episode of Big bang Theory in February 2016 and which also marked the 50th anniversary of Batman on television.
Born William West Anderson in 1928 in Walla Walla, Wash., the actor later adopted his stage name, and began his career in earnest when he moved to Hawaii in the 1950s to star in a local children’s program.
He is survived by his wife Marcelle, six children, five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
Rest in Peace, my Batman.
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