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Adam West, who played 1960s-era Batman, dies at 88

Associated Press logo Associated Press 6/10/2017 By SANDY COHEN and KEITH RIDLER, Associated Press
FILE - In this Sunday, Jan. 27, 1989 file photo, actors Adam West, left, and Burt Ward, dressed as their characters Batman and Robin, pose for a photo at the "World of Wheels" custom car show in Chicago. On Saturday, June 10, 2017, West’s family said the actor, who portrayed Batman in a 1960s TV series, has died at age 88. (AP Photo/Mark Elias, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Sunday, Jan. 27, 1989 file photo, actors Adam West, left, and Burt Ward, dressed as their characters Batman and Robin, pose for a photo at the "World of Wheels" custom car show in Chicago. On Saturday, June 10, 2017, West’s family said the actor, who portrayed Batman in a 1960s TV series, has died at age 88. (AP Photo/Mark Elias, File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Adam West, whose straight-faced portrayal of Batman in a 1960s TV series lifted the tight-clad Caped Crusader into the national consciousness, has died at age 88, his family said Saturday on a verified Facebook page.

FILE - This Jan. 13, 2003 file photo shows actor Adam West in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles. On Saturday, June 10, 2017, his family said the actor, who portrayed Batman in a 1960s TV series, has died at age 88. (AP Photo/Jill Connelly) © The Associated Press FILE - This Jan. 13, 2003 file photo shows actor Adam West in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles. On Saturday, June 10, 2017, his family said the actor, who portrayed Batman in a 1960s TV series, has died at age 88. (AP Photo/Jill Connelly)

West died Friday night after "a short but brave battle with leukemia," the family statement said.

FILE - In this Dec. 11, 1985, file photo, Adam West poses for a photo in Los Angeles. On Saturday, June 10, 2017, his family said the actor, who portrayed Batman in a 1960s TV series, has died at age 88. (AP Photo/Lennox McLendon, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Dec. 11, 1985, file photo, Adam West poses for a photo in Los Angeles. On Saturday, June 10, 2017, his family said the actor, who portrayed Batman in a 1960s TV series, has died at age 88. (AP Photo/Lennox McLendon, File)

West played the superhero straight for kids and funny for adults. He initially chaffed at being typecast after "Batman" went off the air after three seasons, but in later years he admitted he was pleased to have had a role in kicking off a big-budget film franchise by showing the character's wide appeal.

FILE - In this Feb. 23, 2002 file photo, a fan holds a signed photograph of actor Adam West, right, during the 50th Autorama in Detroit. On Saturday, June 10, 2017, his family said the actor, who portrayed Batman in a 1960s TV series, has died at age 88. (AP Photo/Paul Warner, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Feb. 23, 2002 file photo, a fan holds a signed photograph of actor Adam West, right, during the 50th Autorama in Detroit. On Saturday, June 10, 2017, his family said the actor, who portrayed Batman in a 1960s TV series, has died at age 88. (AP Photo/Paul Warner, File)

"You get terribly typecast playing a character like that," he told The Associated Press in a 2014 interview.

FILE - This Jan. 14, 1989 file photo shows Adam West in New York. On Saturday, June 10, 2017, his family said the actor, who portrayed Batman in a 1960s TV series, has died at age 88. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File) © The Associated Press FILE - This Jan. 14, 1989 file photo shows Adam West in New York. On Saturday, June 10, 2017, his family said the actor, who portrayed Batman in a 1960s TV series, has died at age 88. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

"But in the overall, I'm delighted because my character became iconic and has opened a lot of doors in other ways, too." He returned to the role in an episode of the animated "The Simpsons."

FILE - In this June 27, 1989 file photo, Adam West, left, stands beside the old Batmobile driven by owner Scott Chinery in Philadelphia. On Saturday, June 10, 2017, his family said the actor, who portrayed Batman in a 1960s TV series, has died at age 88. (AP Photo/Cristy Rickard, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this June 27, 1989 file photo, Adam West, left, stands beside the old Batmobile driven by owner Scott Chinery in Philadelphia. On Saturday, June 10, 2017, his family said the actor, who portrayed Batman in a 1960s TV series, has died at age 88. (AP Photo/Cristy Rickard, File)

And more recently, he did the voice of nutty Mayor Adam West in the long-running "Family Guy" series.

FILE - In this March 19, 2006 file photo, Burt Ward, left, and Adam West pose for photos while walking the red carpet prior to the TV Land Awards, in Santa Monica, Calif. On Saturday, June 10, 2017, West’s family said the actor, who portrayed Batman in a 1960s TV series, has died at age 88. (Andy Holzman/Los Angeles Daily News via AP) © The Associated Press FILE - In this March 19, 2006 file photo, Burt Ward, left, and Adam West pose for photos while walking the red carpet prior to the TV Land Awards, in Santa Monica, Calif. On Saturday, June 10, 2017, West’s family said the actor, who portrayed Batman in a 1960s TV series, has died at age 88. (Andy Holzman/Los Angeles Daily News via AP)

"He was bright, witty and fun to work with," Julie Newmar, who played Catwoman to West's Batman, said in a statement Saturday. "I will miss him in the physical world and savor him always in the world of imagination and creativity."

FILE - In this May 29, 2015 file photo, a Batman costume worn by Adam West in the 1960s television show is on display next a Superman costume worn by Christopher Reeve in "Superman IV" at the Louisville Slugger Museum in Louisville, Ky. On Saturday, June 10, 2017, West’s family said the actor has died at age 88. (AP Photo/Dylan Lovan) © The Associated Press FILE - In this May 29, 2015 file photo, a Batman costume worn by Adam West in the 1960s television show is on display next a Superman costume worn by Christopher Reeve in "Superman IV" at the Louisville Slugger Museum in Louisville, Ky. On Saturday, June 10, 2017, West’s family said the actor has died at age 88. (AP Photo/Dylan Lovan)

In April 2012, West received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Born William West Anderson in Walla Walla, Washington, he moved to Seattle at age 15 with his mother after his parents divorced.

FILE- In this Nov. 17, 2012 file photo, Adam West arrives at Variety Power of Comedy at Avalon Hollywood in Los Angeles. 10, 2017. On Saturday, June 10, 2017, his family said the actor, who portrayed Batman in a 1960s TV series, has died at age 88. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File) © The Associated Press FILE- In this Nov. 17, 2012 file photo, Adam West arrives at Variety Power of Comedy at Avalon Hollywood in Los Angeles. 10, 2017. On Saturday, June 10, 2017, his family said the actor, who portrayed Batman in a 1960s TV series, has died at age 88. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)

He graduated from Whitman College, a private liberal arts school, in Walla Walla.

After serving in the Army, he went to Hollywood and changed his name to Adam West, and began appearing on a number of television series, including "Bonanza," ''Perry Mason" and "Bewitched."

"Batman" was the role he would remain associated with throughout his life.

The TV show was among the most popular in 1966, the year of its debut, and some of the era's top actors signed on to play villains. Burgess Meredith squawked as the Penguin. Eartha Kitt purred as Catwoman. And Cesar Romero cackled as the Joker.

Years later, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale and Ben Affleck would don Bruce Wayne's camouflaging cape and cowl.

Filmmakers Edgar Wright and Leslye Headland were among those lamenting West's death on Twitter.

"Farewell Adam West. You were MY Batman," Wright wrote. "Such a super funny, cool, charismatic actor. Loved the show as a kid, still love the show now. POW!"

Headland wrote: My childhood hero & still my favorite Batman. RIP Adam West. #pow"

West was married three times, and had six children. He had homes in Los Angeles and Palm Springs, but he and his wife, Marcelle, spent most of their time at their ranch near Sun Valley, Idaho.

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Ridler reported from Boise, Idaho

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