Adam West '51—Staff report

Praise poured in over the weekend from the entertainment world about the performance legacy of Adam West (William West Anderson) '51, best known as the titular superhero on Batman, which ran on network television from 1966 to 1968. The original caped crusader—and English major and psychology minor at Whitman—died last Friday at age 88 after battling leukemia.

"Adam and I had a special friendship for more than 50 years. We shared some of the most fun times of our lives together. Our families have deep love and respect for each other. This is a terribly unexpected loss of my lifelong friend. I will forever miss him," said Burt Ward, who played his sidekick Robin.

"You were my Batman. Such a super funny, cool, charismatic actor," said filmmaker Edgar Wright, expressing a sentiment that many fans of the campy dark knight felt even after subsequent movie iterations boasted A-list names and serious overtones.

"Adam West's distinctive voice will never be silenced for his legion of fans, young and old," observed the critic Leonard Maltin.

Late in life, West found new fame through another outsize character, the mayor on the animated series Family Guy, which began airing in 1999, and creator Seth MacFarlane said, "Adam West was a joy to work with, and the kind of guy you always wanted to be around. His positivity, good nature, and sense of fun were undeniable, and it was always a big jolt of the best kind of energy when he walked in to record the show."

More celebrity memories:

More media obituaries:

Born in Walla Walla, West enjoyed many pursuits as a Whittie: member of Beta Theta Pi and the economics club, participant in choir and debate and a sports enthusiast in skiing, swimming, track and water polo.

His first Hollywood credit was on the Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse in the mid-1950s and his feature film debut was in the 1959 film The Young Philadelphians, starring Paul Newman.

Read more about West in this 2006 Whitman Magazine profile, "Holy Renaissance Man!," and learn about his interest in painting, among other things.