[With any long-running, oft-adapted character, there will inevitably be actors who become closely identified with them, who, in effect, ‘become’ them for a generation of fans – and out of all said characters, few have seen more of these than Batman. Just about everyone has ‘their’ Batman.
Michael Keaton is still mine. Kevin Conroy embodies him for many others. For younger generations of fans, he may be Christian Bale, or Ben Affleck.
And yesterday, a Batman died.
For those of you who haven’t heard the news, Adam West has just passed on. He died from leukemia at age 88.
I was greatly saddened to hear of this. My own history with West’s Batman is not particularly extensive – I first saw Batman: The Movie back in college, and watched the actual show only recently – but his uniquely humorous, straight-faced portrayal has still left a deep impression on me. More than that, he himself had always struck me as being a genuinely nice guy in real life, a gentle, funny man who seemed to deeply appreciate having had the chance to portray such a terrific character – he once called himself “the luckiest actor in the world”.
He lived a long life, and died as the patriarch of a large and loving family. He continued being involved in Batman-related projects up until the very end. His was a life well-spent that left a positive impact on millions of people – and though he is no longer with us, I have no doubt that his body of work will continue to affect millions more to come.
As it happened, I had already written this article, which I have been tinkering with and fine-tuning for quite a while now. This seems as appropriate as any a time to post it. I hope you will enjoy it as a tribute to the man’s work, along with that of the many other talented men and women that helped make the ’66 Batman the cultural milestone that it remains even today.
The Bright Knight is gone, but he will never truly leave. Farewell, old chum.]