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Monday, June 19, 2017

Adam West, Straight-Faced Star of TV's 'Batman,' Dies at 88

Adam West, best known as our beloved Caped Crusader on the classic television 1960s series Batman, died after a short battle with leukemia. He was 88 years old.

He was born William West Anderson in Seattle on Sept. 19, 1928, the second of two sons. His father, Otto, was a wheat farmer; his mother, Audrey, was a pianist and opera singer.

"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," his family said in a statement.

In the Army, West served as an announcer on American Forces Network television, then worked as the station manager at Stanford while he was a graduate student.

                                          Adam West (left) and Burt Ward as Batman and Robin.

Before Batman opportunity, West played a wealthy Main Line husband who meets an early end in Paul Newman's The Young Philadelphians (1959), was one of the first two humans on the Red Planet in Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964) and contributed his velvety voice to the animated Redux Riding Hood (1997), which received an Oscar nomination for best short film.

The City of Los Angeles recognized him by placing the Bat wings symbol on City Hall.

What about that incredible Batmobile?

Well, the incomparable George Barris and his team to the rescue!

In the 1960s, the Barris firm in North Hollywood/Toluca Lake became heavily involved in vehicle design for television production. At the beginning of the decade, Barris, who loved extravagant design, had purchased the Lincoln Futura, a concept car of the mid-1950s which had been built by Ghia of Italy.

In late 1965, he was asked by ABC Television to create a signature vehicle for the upcoming Batman television series. Filming would begin in a few weeks leaving insufficient time for a new design from scratch. Barris decided the Futura was a perfect base on which to create the Batmobile. Barris hired custom builder Gene Cushenberry to modify the car, which was ready on time. The show was a hit, and the car gained notoriety for Barris. 

He retained ownership of the Batmobile until an auction on January 19, 2013, when Barris sold it for $4,620,000.

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