88 (passed away Jun. 9th, 2017)
Sep. 19th, 1928
Walla Walla, Washington, USA
Adam West's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
He breathed life into Batman. Adam West was born Billy (William) West Anderson in Walla Walla, Washington, to parents Otto West Anderson and his wife Audrey. At age 10, Adam had a cache of comic books, and Batman made a big impression on him -- the comic hero was part bat-man (ala Count Dracula) and part world's greatest detective (ala Charlie Chan and Sherlock Holmes). When his mom remarried to a Dr. Paul Flothow, she took Adam and his younger brother, John, to Seattle. At 14, Adam attended Lakeside School, then went to Whitman College, where he got a degree in literature and psychology. During his last year of college, he also married 17-year-old Billie Lou Yeager.
Adam got a job as a DJ at a local radio station, then enrolled at Stanford for post-grad courses. Drafted into the Army, he spent the next 2 years starting military TV stations, first at San Luis Obispo, CA, then at Fort Monmouth, NJ. Afterwards, Adam and his wife toured Europe, visiting Germany, Switzerland and Italy's Isle of Capri. When the money ran out, he joined a childhood and college buddy, Carl Hebenstreit, who was starring in the kiddie program "The Kini Popo Show" in Hawaii. Adam would eventually replace Carl but not the other star, Peaches the Chimp. In 1956, he got a divorce, and married a beautiful girl, originally from Tahiti, named Ngatokoruaimatauaia Frisbie Dawson (he called her "Nga" for short). They had a daughter, Jonelle, in 1957 and a son, Hunter, in 1958. In 1959, Adam came to Hollywood. He adopted the stage name "Adam West", which fit his roles, as he was in some Westerns.
After 7 years in Tinseltown, he achieved fame in 1966, in his signature role as Batman, in the wildly popular ABC TV series. (Though he has over 60 movie and over 80 TV guest appearance credits, Batman is what the fans remember him for). The "Batman" (1966) TV series, which lasted three seasons, made him not just nationally but internationally famous. The movie version earned Adam the "Most Promising New Star" award in 1967. The downside was the Batman fame was partly responsible for ruining his marriage, and he would be typecast and almost unemployable for a while after the series ended (he did nothing but personal appearances for 2 years).
In 1972, he met, and then married Marcelle Tagand Lear, so he got two step-kids, Moya and Jill. In addition, they had two children of their own: Nina West (II) in 1976 and Perrin in 1979. You can't keep a good actor down -- Adam's career took off again, and he has been in about 50 projects since then: movies, TV-movies, and sometimes doing voices in TV series. Adam wrote his autobiography "Back to the Batcave" in 1994. One of his most prized possessions is a drawing of Batman by Bob Kane (I) with the inscription "To my buddy, Adam, who breathed life into my pen and ink creation".
- After playing the role of a resourceful secret agent in a Nestle's Quik commercial in the early '60s, he caught the eye of ABC execs. They figured that he might be right for an upcoming TV show that was about to be produced, _"Batman" (1966)_ (qv). The rest is history.
- According to DC Comics statistics, Batman stands 6-foot-2. Of all the actors who have played Batman, West is believed to be the only one who stood the same height.
- West once appeared on the _"Batman" (1992)_ (qv) animated series playing - of all things - an out-of-work actor who was unable to escape his identification with the role of a superhero he had played decades earlier, the Gray Ghost. Prior to this, West had supplied the voice of Batman on the _"SuperFriends: The Legendary Super Powers Show" (1984)_ (qv) animated series.
- His daughter 'Nina West (II)' (qv) is the host of the _TV Land Real Estate (2002) (TV)_ (qv). She is also a model and has twice appeared with her father on 'Howard Stern (I)' (qv)'s radio show.
- He was to be the star of a new western series, "Doc Holliday", in 1959 after the pilot aired on an episode of _"Lawman" (1958)_ (qv) called "The Wayfarer". ABC pulled the plug on the project.
- His former _"Batman" (1966)_ (qv) co-star, 'Burt Ward' (qv), made a cameo appearance on an episode of _"The Simpsons" (1989)_ (qv), with him, in 2002.
- Enjoys fishing.
- Member of Beta Theta Pi Fraternity