Adam West, the US actor best known as the star of the 1960s hit TV series Batman, has died aged 88.
West died peacefully in Los Angeles after a "short but brave battle" with leukaemia, a family spokesperson said.
His tongue-in-cheek portrayal of Batman and the superhero's alter ego Bruce Wayne won a cult following.
He later struggled to find big acting roles, but won a new generation of fans in more recent times after joining the cast of Family Guy.
First appearing in season two in 2002, he voiced Quahog's eccentric Mayor Adam West, described by series creator Seth MacFarlane as an "alternate universe", satirised version of the actor.
MacFarlane paid tribute to the star on Twitter, saying he had "lost a friend" and described West as "irreplaceable".
West's family said in a statement: "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."
The Batman TV series, with its onscreen fight-scene graphics of Wham! and Pow! became an unexpected hit. West and his co-star Burt Ward, who played Batman's sidekick Robin, won widespread acclaim for their kitsch portrayal of the Dynamic Duo.
Actor Julie Newmar, who played Catwoman in the series, paid tribute to West on Saturday, saying he was was "bright, witty and fun to work with".
"I will miss him in the physical world and savour him always in the world of imagination and creativity," she said.
In a 2010 interview with the website Slice of SciFi, West said the TV series had benefitted from very good writers.
"They saw the craziness, the comedy. You know, just as he's about to put her in (jail), Batman says to Catwoman, 'You give me curious stirrings in my utility belt.' That's funny stuff."
When the series ended, West struggled to break free from the character, but over a long career appeared in nearly 50 films including Drop Dead Gorgeous, An American Vampire Story and Nevada Smith.
Chris Johnston and agencies
Saturday 10 June 2017
Adam West, the actor best known for playing Batman in the 1960s television series, has died aged 88 of leukaemia. He is remembered by fans for his kooky, exaggerated portrayal of the superhero in the ABC show, which ran for three seasons from 1966 to 1968.
West once said that he played Batman “for laughs, but in order to do [that], one had to never think it was funny. You just had to pull on that cowl and believe that no one would recognise you.”
In a statement, his family said: “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.”
Tributes have poured in from the media world. David Walliams tweeted: “Thank you AdamWest for being the funniest superhero of all time as Batman.”
Many of those expressing their sadness shared the fact that West’s portrayal of the Caped Crusader had been their childhood hero. Author Neil Gaiman tweeted: “Rest in peace Adam West. We met once in 1987 and I was too embarrassed and too foolishly ‘cool’ to tell you what you meant to my childhood.”
Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright tweeted: “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!”
John Barrowman wrote on Facebook: “Adam West my after-school hours were filled with excitement watching you battle fantastic villains. You were a delight to meet on the convention circuit.”
Mark Hamill, who played the Joker in an animated series of Batman and worked with West on a short called Batman: New Times, also shared his condolences. He tweeted: “AdamWest was such a wonderful actor & so kind, I’m so lucky to have worked w/ him & tell him how much he meant to me & millions of fans.”
The actor Matthew Modine tweeted:
I shared a flight #adamwest when I began my career. So kind. Sharing insights about the business of show. So generous & loving was he RIP
Batman initially proved a hit with US viewers, but its popularity waned and it was axed after the third season. Reruns of the show continue to this day, although it took until 2014 to make it on to DVD.
The Guardian’s Graeme Virtue wrote: “The licensing tangle between 20th Century Fox, which made and owns the actual episodes, and DC Entertainment, the renamed comics company that owns the characters, was hampered by contracts drawn up before home entertainment options were even being considered.”
West struggled to find steady work after the demise of Batman, complaining later that “the people who were hiring … were dinosaurs” who “thought Batman was a big accident”. it was not until he was cast as the voice of Mayor West on the animated series Family Guy that he found another regular gig.