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Adam West Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (3) | Trade Mark (4) | Trivia (86) | Personal Quotes (31) | Salary (1)

Overview (4)

Born in Walla Walla, Washington, USA
Died in Los Angeles, California, USA  (leukemia)
Birth NameWilliam West Anderson
Height 6' 2" (1.88 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Adam West was born William West Anderson on September 19, 1928 in Walla Walla, Washington, to parents Otto West Anderson, a farmer, and his wife Audrey V. (Speer), an opera singer. 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 mother remarried to a Dr. Paul Flothow, she took Adam and his younger brother, John, to Seattle. At age 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 disc jockey at a local radio station, then enrolled at Stanford for post-grad courses. Drafted into the army, he spent the next two years starting military television stations, first at San Luis Obispo, California, then at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. 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, (born 1957) and a son, Hunter, (born 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 seven years in Tinseltown, he achieved fame in his signature role as Bruce Wayne / Batman, on the wildly popular ABC-TV series Batman (1966) (though he has over 60 movie and over 80 television 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 was typecast and almost unemployable for a while after the series ended (he did nothing but personal appearances for two years).

In 1970, 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 appeared in 50 projects after that: movies, television movies and sometimes doing voices on television series. Adam wrote his autobiography "Back to the Batcave" (1994). One of his most prized possessions was a drawing of Batman by Bob Kane with the inscription "To my buddy, Adam, who breathed life into my pen and ink creation". Beginning in 2000, West made guest appearances on the animated series Family Guy (1999), on which he played Mayor Adam West, the lunatic mayor of Quahog, Rhode Island.

On June 9, 2017, Adam West died at age 88 after a brief battle with leukemia in Los Angeles, California. On June 15, 2017, Los Angeles shone the Bat-Signal on City Hall, and Walla Walla shone the bat-signal on the Whitman Tower, both as a tribute to West.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: kdhaisch@aol.com

Spouse (3)

Marcelle Lear (7 November 1970 - 9 June 2017) (his death) (4 children)
Ngahra Frisbie (1957 - 1962) (2 children)
Billie Lou Yeager (27 August 1950 - 1956) (divorced)

Trade Mark (4)

Unmistakable deep smooth voice
His iconic role as Batman (1966)
His glasses.
Deadpan comic delivery

Trivia (86)

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 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 was 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.
Had two roles in common with Val Kilmer: (1) West played Doc Holliday in Sugarfoot (1957), Colt .45 (1957) and Lawman (1958) while Kilmer played him in Tombstone (1993) and (2) West played Batman / Bruce Wayne in Batman (1966), Batman: The Movie (1966), SuperFriends: The Legendary Super Powers Show (1984), The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians (1985), The New Adventures of Batman (1977) and Legends of the Superheroes (1979) while Kilmer played him in Batman Forever (1995).
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 Batman (1966) on the television series.
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 age 15, this was after his parents' divorce.
Attended and graduated from Lakeside High School in Seattle, Washington (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 1946 graduating class.
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 age 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 James Bond role in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) with producer Albert R. Broccoli. West felt the role should be played by a British actor, and declined the role.
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.
He wanted to be an entertainer since he was a teenager. Did not study acting in college.
After his 1956 divorce from his first wife, Billie Lou Yeager, he met Ngahra Frisbie, within months, while in Hawaii, and married her the following year.
Was a celebrity spokesperson for Nestle's Quik in 1965.
Overcame alcoholism in the 1970s. His mother was also an alcoholic.
He starred in a 1991 NBC pilot, which was produced by Conan O'Brien, a huge Batman (1966) fan, but the pilot was not picked up by the network.
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 series, 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 also suffered from this.
Met his third wife, Marcelle Lear, at a promotion for Learjets. While in his Batman (1966) costume, he posed with Learjet executive (and son of the founder) John Lear - who was married to her at the time.
His father, Otto West Anderson, died in 1984.
Has two stepchildren from Marcelle Lear's (previous) marriage to John Lear.
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 in Palm Springs, California on April 10, 2010.
His agent was Fred Wostbrock.
Was screen tested for the role of Tracy Steele on Hawaiian Eye (1959), but lost the role to Anthony Eisley.
While living in Hawaii, before becoming a successful actor, West took the role of sidekick on a local (Honolulu, Hawaii) children's television program, called (the) "El Kini Popo Show," which featured a chimpanzee. Eventually, West graduated from sidekick to star/host of the program.
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.
Was 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.
Made nine 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, Robert 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).
Was a comic book buff, cowboy buff and movie buff.
Both West and Ernest Borgnine had roles on SpongeBob SquarePants (1999), Borgnine appeared as Mermaid Man from 1999 until his death in 2012, with West appearing as Young Mermaid Man in one episode in 2010, which also featured Borgnine.
Made an appearance at every San Diego Comic-Con International from 2007 to 2016.
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.
He was born exactly one day after his Batman (1966) Special Guest Villain Roddy McDowall. Both guest starred on Batman: The Animated Series (1992) as well.
Has played the same character (Doc Holliday) on three different series: Sugarfoot (1957), Colt .45 (1957) and Lawman (1958).
Has five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Owned a house in Palm Springs, California.
The series that he did not like was Super Friends (1973).
Lived not too far from Tom Hanks and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
He was born on the same day, seventeen years later, as Randolph Mantooth. West guest-starred with him on Emergency! (1972).
Had guest-starred on an episode of Diagnosis Murder (1993), where Victoria Rowell's character was copying one of his stuntwork, taken from Batman (1966), a series West starred in years earlier.
When he moved to Los Angeles to become an actor, he legally changed his name from William West Anderson to Adam West, this was because the name was too long.
Was a farm boy until his parents got divorced when West was age 15, and he moved to Seattle, Washington with his mother and his brother John.
Before he was a successful actor, he did everything from a custodian to a station manager at Stamford University.
Despite the feud with Burt Ward on the set of the original Batman (1966) series, West had fun with him.
In his youth, he briefly lived in Sacramento, California.
Had a younger brother, John Anderson.
Was considered for the role of Popeye Doyle in The French Connection (1971), which went to Gene Hackman.
He once pulled pranks on his mates, who then stole the school bus, once, to take a date for his prom, which eventually got him into a lot of trouble.
In 1940, when young Adam was only age 12, he found his own mother in bed with a local preacher.
The January 6, 1971, issue of Variety, in the Italian Films in Production section, lists a movie starring Adam West, Claudine Auger, Giancarlo Giannini and Philippe Hersent called Cold Fury, directed by Bruno Gaburro, producer Franco Paolini, to begin filming January 18, 1971. No evidence the film was completed or released.
Was the only actor to portray Batman in both live-action and animated form. He played Batman onscreen in Batman (1966), Batman: The Movie (1966), and Legends of the Superheroes (1979). He voiced Batman on The New Adventures of Batman (1977), SuperFriends: The Legendary Super Powers Show (1984), and The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians (1985).
Had Swedish ancestry from his father, and English, with small amounts of German, Irish, Welsh, and remote Scottish from his mother.
His real name was taken from a Western actor, the first television cowboy.
By mutual agreement, West was released from his contract at Warner Bros. (as did fellow actor James Garner, but over a contract dispute) in 1960, because they lost the studio's relationship with ABC, whose network didn't have enough shows that they aired before. He decided to move on.
His mother had no choice other than to abandon her own Hollywood dreams to care for her family.
After his role on Batman (1966), he was typecast and had trouble finding other roles, which halted his acting career.
On June 15, 2017, the city of Los Angeles, California shined the Bat-Signal on City Hall as a tribute to Adam West.
Was roommates with James Best.
Before he was a successful actor, he used to work as a milkman, before moving to Hawaii.
Adam West passed away on June 9, 2017, at age 88, one week before Stephen Furst, and within six months of other stars, also born in 1928, either aged 88 or 89: William Peter Blatty, Martin Landau and Jeanne Moreau.

Personal Quotes (31)

[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.
[on 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.
[on 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.
[on 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 would pull it on and I would 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.
[on 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 would 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.
[on 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.".
But I am simple in that I no longer feel the need to walk on a red carpet. I am a private person. I don't need a lot of company. And I find it really, really difficult to talk about myself.
[In 2005] Batman was comedy, let's face it. What I loved about Batman was his total lack of awareness when it came to his interaction with the outside world. He actually believed nobody could recognize him on the phone, when he was being Bruce Wayne, even though he made no attempt to disguise his voice.
When fans ask me for advice, here's what I tell them: "Remain an optimist."
If I pick up a telephone and make an international call, the operator knows my voice immediately, as does everybody else.

Salary (1)

Batman: The Movie (1966) $100,000

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