Adam West, who stared as Bruce Wayne in the campy 1960s series Batman, died Friday night in Los Angeles. He was 88.
"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.
West played Batman straight for kids and funny for adults. He initially chaffed at being typecast after the show was canceled after just 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.
"You get terribly typecast playing a character like that," he told The Associated Press in a 2014 interview.
"But in the overall, I'm delighted because my character became iconic and has opened a lot of doors in other ways, too."
West was a source of inspiration for not only fans, but other actors who took on the role of the Caped Crusader.
Ben Affleck, the most recent actor to don the cape and cowl in Batman vs. Superman and the upcoming Justice League:
Adam West exemplified heroism. Kind, funny and an all around great guy. Thank you for showing us all how it's done. @therealadamwest
— Ben Affleck (@BenAffleck) June 10, 2017
Val Kilmer, who played the Dark Knight in 1995's Batman Forever
Ah dear Adam West. He was always so kind when we met. A real gent. Once when I was a kid we found ourselves in front the batmobile. I got in
— Val Kilmer (@valkilmer) June 10, 2017
Will Arnet, who voiced Batman in the blockbuster hit The Lego Movie and The Lego Batman Movie:
RIP Adam West. You will always be Batman
— Will Arnett™ (@arnettwill) June 10, 2017
Kevin Conroy, who provided the crimefighter's iconic voice in Batman: The Animated Series and several other Warner Bros. cartoons:
Adam West has passed. The Batman of my childhood. He brought us so much entertainment and was a truly class act. We'll miss u Adam pic.twitter.com/5ddeOrUCSp
— Kevin Conroy (@RealKevinConroy) June 10, 2017
West's film television career spanned six decades, and the actor appeared in over 50 films and shows. Recently, he lent his voice to Family Guy as Mayor Adam West, and has been a guest star on The Big Bang Theory, The Simpsons and a host of other shows.
"I had done a pilot with Seth that he had written for me. It turned out we had the same kind of comic sensibilities and got along well," West said in a 2012 interview of the show's creator, Seth McFarlane. "When Family Guy came around and Seth became brilliantly successful, he decided to call me and see what I was doing. He asked if I would like to come aboard as the mayor, and I thought it would be neat to do something sort of absurd and fun."
“Family Guy has lost its mayor, and I have lost a friend,” MacFarlane said in a statement on Twitter, calling the late actor "irreplaceable"
— Seth MacFarlane (@SethMacFarlane) June 10, 2017
In an episode of Batman: The Animated Series, West provided the voice for Simon Trent, an actor who portrayed a superhero called The Gray Ghost that a young Bruce Wayne idolized. When the older Wayne as Batman seeks his help to solve a crime, he finds Trent unemployed and short of money, unable to land new roles due to being typecast, something West experienced first hand.
"There was a time when Batman really kept me from getting some pretty good roles," West said in an interview with Variety.
West made his feature debut in Paul Newman's 1959 film The Young Philadelphians, where he played a wealthy Main Line husband who dies in a car wreck. He also starred in the 1965 comedy western The Outlaws Is Coming, the last feature film starring The Three Stooges.
West is survived by his wife Marcelle, six children, five grandchildren, and 2 great-grandchildren.
"He was bright, witty and fun to work with," Julie Newmar, who played Catwoman on Batman alongside West, said in a statement. "I will miss him in the physical world and savor him always in the world of imagination and creativity."
Here are more reactions from celebrities, actors and reporters West has touched over the years.
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) June 10, 2017
Edgar Wright, director of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz:
Farewell Adam West. You were MY Batman. Such a super funny, cool, charismatic actor. Loved the show as a kid, still love the show now. POW! pic.twitter.com/6QAZnOhtMs
— edgarwright (@edgarwright) June 10, 2017
Dave Itzkoff, New York Times television writer:
— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) June 10, 2017
Robin Lord Taylor, who plays Penguin on FOX's Gotham:
Gotham City has lost a legend. Adam West was every bit as gracious and loving in person as you'd expect. @therealadamwest
— Robin Lord Taylor (@robinlordtaylor) June 10, 2017
Tara Strong, voice of Batgirl on Batman: The Animated Series:
— tara strong (@tarastrong) June 10, 2017
The Associated Press contributed to this report.