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Adam West Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (3) | Trade Mark (2) | Trivia (60) | Personal Quotes (27) | Salary (1)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 19 September 1928Walla Walla, Washington, USA
Birth NameWilliam West Anderson
Height 6' 2" (1.88 m)

Mini Bio (1)

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 (a la Count Dracula) and part world's greatest detective (a la 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 Batman (1966) (though he has over 60 movie and over 80 TV guest appearance credits, "Batman" is what the fans remember him for). The series, which lasted three seasons, made him not just nationally but internationally famous. The movie version, Batman: The Movie (1966), earned Adam the "Most Promising New Star" award in 1967. The downside was that 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, and picked up two stepchildren, Moya and Jill. In addition, they had two children of their own: Nina West 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 with the inscription "To my buddy, Adam, who breathed life into my pen and ink creation".

- IMDb Mini Biography By: kdhaisch@aol.com

Spouse (3)

Marcelle Lear (7 November 1970 - present) (4 children)
Ngahra Frisbie (1957 - 1962) (2 children)
Billie Lou Yeager (27 August 1950 - 1956) (divorced)

Trade Mark (2)

Radio disc jockey voice
His iconic role as Batman (1966)

Trivia (60)

After playing the role of a resourceful secret agent in a Nestle's Quik commercial in the early 1960s, he caught the eye of ABC executives. They figured that he might be right for an upcoming television series that was about to be produced, Batman (1966). The rest is history.
His daughter Nina West is the host of the TV Land Real Estate (2002). She is also a model and has twice appeared with her father on Howard Stern's radio show.
West once appeared on Batman: The Animated Series (1992) 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 SuperFriends: The Legendary Super Powers Show (1984).
Was the third actor to play Batman (though some may credit him as the first, as the old serials are much more obscure than West's television series Batman (1966)).
Is a member of the Beta Theta Pi Fraternity at Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri.
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.
Had his creative dentist add a little black Batman logo to one of his molars.
Has shared two roles with Val Kilmer: Bruce Wayne/Batman and lawman John "Doc" Holliday. He also shares the latter role with his Batman castmate Cesar Romero.
His former Batman (1966) co-star, Burt Ward, made a cameo appearance, voicing on an episode of The Simpsons (1989), with him, in 2002. Eight years later, Ward would also make another cameo appearance with him, voicing on an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants (1999), in 2010.
Best known by the public for his starring role as the title character of the television series Batman (1966).
Remained good friends with Burt Ward during and after the original Batman (1966) series.
Father of Hunter Anderson, Jonelle S. Anderson, Nina West and Perrin West.
His mother, Audrey Speer, of the Christian musical group, the Speers, died in 1969.
Moved with his mother and brother to Seattle, Washington when he was only 15, this was after his parents' divorce.
Attended and graduated from Lakeside High School in Seattle, Washington in 1946.
Began his career as a contract player for Warner Bros. Pictures in 1959.
Was drafted into the United States Army for two years.
Before he was a successful actor, he worked as a radio disc jockey, where he founded a military television station that his knack for deadpan comedy expanded.
Future comedians Conan O'Brien, Drew Carey, Bill Maher, Ross Shafer, radio disc jockey Howard Stern, The Simpsons (1989) Matt Groening, reality television show participant Lorenzo Lamas and weatherman/game show announcer Rich Fields, all said West was their childhood television hero.
Beat out two other actors, Lyle Waggoner and Ty Hardin, for the title role on Batman (1966).
Hobbies include fishing, sailing, hiking, skiing, spending time with his family, listening to classic rock music, golfing, traveling, riding motorcycles, reading, watching movies, swimming, surfing and dancing.
At Lakeside High School, he excelled in sports and served as school president of his graduating class, which he graduated from in 1946.
Attended and graduated from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington with a Bachelor's degree in Literature and a minor in Psychology.
Before he was a successful actor, he also played water polo, ran track, skied and swam at Whitman College.
Married his first wife, Billie Lou Yeager, when she was 17.
Before he was a successful actor, he also worked as an island tour guide.
Was one of the three actors to appear in every episode of the original Batman (1966) series.
His father, Otto West Anderson was a charismatic farmer, his mother, Audrey Speer was a singer.
Discussed the lead role in Diamonds Are Forever (1971) with Albert R. Broccoli. At the time, there were plans to reboot the franchise with an American Bond. West felt the role should be played by a British actor and ruled himself out of contention.
His television series Batman (1966) was canceled after 2 1/2 seasons, not only because of low ratings, but because of the rising costs of the special effects and lighting. When ABC canceled the series, NBC was asked to run the show, however the set had already been dismantled.
Had always wanted to be an entertainer since he was a teenager.
After his 1956 divorce from his first wife, Billie Lou Yeager, he met Ngahra Frisbiem, within months, while in Hawaii, and married her the following year.
Was a celebrity spokesperson of Nestle's Quik in 1965.
Overcame alcoholism in the 1970s. His mother was also an alcoholic.
Has starred in a pilot for NBC in 1991 that did not sell, which was also produced by huge Batman (1966) fan, Conan O'Brien.
Neighbors with his Batman (1966) three episode guest star, Van Williams, who portrayed the Green Hornet on Batman, before Williams was spun off into his own show, The Green Hornet (1966). West had recommended Williams to the producers for the Green Hornet guest role on Batman.
Depression ran in his family, like his mother, he too suffered from it.
Met his third wife, Marcelle Lear, at a promotion for leader jets. While in his Batman costume, he posed with executive John Lear - who was married to her at the time.
His father, Otto West Anderson, died in 1984.
Has two stepchildren from Marcella Lear's previous marriage.
He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6764 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on April 5, 2012.
He was awarded a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars on April 10, 2010.
His agent is Fred Wostbrock.
Was screen tested for Tracy Steele in Hawaiian Eye (1959), but lost the role to Anthony Eisley.
Before he was a successful actor, he was a star on a children's host, while living in Hawaii.
Was considered for the role of Thomas Wayne in Batman (1989), but lost the role to David Baxt.
Acting mentor and friends with Burt Ward.
Is the celebrity spokesperson for LendingTree and for Hebrew National Hot Dogs.
The Batman costume worn by Adam West is now a part of The Azarian Collection.
His idols when he was very young were John Wayne and Burgess Meredith.
Began his television series Batman (1966) at age 37.
Made 9 guest appearances on Politically Incorrect (1993), which was hosted by Bill Maher, who was one of his lifelong fans.
Resided in Los Angeles, California for 30 years, from 1959 to 1989. Moved to Ketchum, Idaho in 1989.
Along with Roddy McDowall, Bob Hastings, Barry Dennen, Steve Franken, Michael Pataki and Judy Strangis, he is one of only seven actors to appear in both Batman (1966) and Batman: The Animated Series (1992).
Is a comic book buff, cowboy buff and movie buff.
Both West and his long time friend, Ernest Borgnine had roles on SpongeBob SquarePants (1999), Borgnine appeared as Mermaid Man in 15 episodes, with West appearing as Young Mermaid Man in one episode in 2010, which also featured Borgnine.
Has made an appearance at every San Diego Comic-Con International beginning in 2007, up to and including 2014.
He was a member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity at Whitman College, in his home town of Walla Walla, Washington, and where he was also a member of the public speaking and debating team.

Personal Quotes (27)

[on his typecasting as The Caped Crusader] It was inescapable. I'd just about land something substantial, something I like or a good career move. Then some dinosaur would rear up and say, "But the audience will think of him as Batman." It was formidable. It was there like a brick wall.
[on his disappointment with the direction Batman (1966) was taking, especially during its second and third seasons] "Batman" was an expensive show and it was losing money. I became extremely frustrated and unhappy and wanted out. There was nothing I could do to convince the producers or the studio to make improvements. I was just a hired hand. Eventually, I lost all interest because I felt the series was being neglected. They weren't spending the money they should have, and we weren't getting the scripts we deserved. I didn't want any part of this situation any more. I was tired of fighting for better shows. The program I wanted to do was no longer possible. But I hated to leave the character because Batman had been good to me.
[on his being passed over for Tim Burton's 1989 Batman (1989)] I cried for an hour, but then I was okay. I wanted it! I don't know. I figured that's their business and they have a film in mind. I've already done it. I've done my Batman. Look, do you want the classic Coke or the new stuff? Maybe both. I do know that I'm disappointed not to have had a chance to play Batman, but they have their vision and I have mine.
I can't tell you how grateful I am to those fans. They are not stupid. I think they appreciate my sincerity and my work. Actors want to be loved. Batman (1966) has done that for me. I have an audience out there which is always waiting to see whatever I do. And new generations are constantly discovering me in reruns. So, as long as I stay sharp, good things can still happen for me. Meanwhile, I keep hoping that a wonderful opportunity will come along. Believe me, my life ain't so bad, after all.
Before I was limited to playing leads in low-budget movies. The series has given me the exposure - God knows - so that perhaps I would now be considered for important pictures, which is what I'm after.
[If he was worried about playing Batman]: I was worried at first. I was afraid that my own identity might be submerged in the trappings of a freak in tights. But then I realized I should be able to make the craze work to my advantage.
[When responded if he sat in the bar]: No, I'll sit at the bar. I don't want to be conspicuous.
[Of his Batman (1966) experience] Regardless of how rough the identity factor has made it to go on, looking at the balance sheet, I'm grateful for the Bat. It did more for me than against me. It gave [me] money, an international name, the kind of recognition that has allowed me to at least disprove what it caused. That may be tougher than starting from scratch, I don't know.
[In 1972] I think when you examine other careers, there's always a cooling-off period. They go on to other things, but there's a cooling-off period. You can't sit on your duff and wait for the phone of ring and someone say you're a star. You have to get out and work for it.
But of course, it's up to me to make whatever roles I play convincing and believable.
[about his career after being typecast as Batman] I was rushed into some not very good movies, and I just hit the beach and nursed my wounds for a while. Part of it was the dinosaurs of Hollywood went away, people who don't get it. I was certainly more welcome when the younger people came in.
[In 2003] That was a reference to Batman drinking the mickey in that first episode and him doing the Batusi. I'm always asked, "Do the Batusi!".
[In 1998] There's no Bat gadget better than a seat belt for safety.
[In 1966] Batman must be played with utter conviction. There is a line which I must follow, between satirizing the character and playing it dead-serious.
[About one of his hobbies] It's important to us. Wetumpka isn't considered a great golf school, but this would be a great way to go out. We've got some young guys who need to keep getting better.
[About returning to the role that made him famous] It's dramatized to an extent, but most of it really did happen. All good comedy is based on truth. Now they're saying we're a wonderful comedy team. What were we before?
Unless the thinking of the major producers has become senile, they can perceive that I'm not Batman.
[Who told spectators The Penguin was a villain on Batman (1966)]: Robin and I were in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner in the Batcave when we got word the Penguin might be in Houston so we rushed over.
[In 2010] I think it evolved. I learned a long time ago that because people love Batman, I should too. I learned that I shouldn't resent it even though it prevented me from getting other roles. I really had to become fond of Batman in order to deal with it. I embraced it.
[In 1989] Who can say it's a mistake, but I know from my mail, and I get thousands of letters from Batman fans, that they resent it.
[His thoughts on the effect Batman (1966) has had on his life] In a lot of people's mind, I AM Batman, and that's been kind of a two-edged sword.
[About wearing his costume on Batman (1966)] It brought me an occasional reward. The tights were itchy, and it was really, really hot. Believe me, it was 180 degrees under that cowl. But it was magic. I'd pull it on and I'd think, "Let's go out and play Batman & Robin!" It's the only way you could get at it, to be childlike and remember those times.
[About the frustrations in trying to break out of the "Batman" shadow] I'd go in to have meetings about different role that were more serious or substantial than what one might have considered Batman to have been. They'd usually wind up saying, "Batman can't be in bed with Faye Dunaway.".
[In 1997] I could even wear my old tights, after getting all the mothballs out of it, and come back in the original Batmobile.
[In 1995] That typecasting is a mean, long-fanged yellow dog that grabbed my leg about three in the morning at least once a week. It was tough to deal with.
If you hang around long enough, they think you're good. It's either my tenacity or my stupidity, I'm not sure which.
[About some of his ideas for stories on Batman (1966)] My Bruce Wayne would have been romancing Catwoman with a brandy snifter full of milk. Then he would have said something silly, like, "Man cannot live on milk alone.".

Salary (1)

Batman: The Movie (1966) $100,000

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