Adam West, the actor whose cartoonish portrayal of DC Comics superhero "Batman" made him a popular culture icon and endeared him to legions of fans, has died at age 88 after succumbing to leukemia.
In the comic book, Batman is portrayed as a complex anti-hero forged in darkness, whose career as a vigilante was galvanized by the murder of his parents. However, West's era was defined largely by the kitsch and camp endemic to the 1960s, qualities which extended to the rogue's gallery of villains he faced on a weekly basis.
In turn, fans loved him all the more for it.
West "passed away peacefully [Friday] night after a short but brave battle with leukemia," according to a statement from his family.
"He was a beloved father, husband, grandfather, and great-grandfather. There are no words to describe how much we'll miss him," it added.
West was an acting veteran who appeared in several television shows before landing the role that made him famous in "Batman." His turn in the campy 1966 television series, which only lasted three seasons, solidified his place in the hearts and imagination of fans everywhere. It also made him a near-permanent fixture at comic book conventions around the country.
Along with his teenaged ward Robin, the Caped Crusader embarked on countless Technicolor adventures set in the 'Swinging Sixties' of Gotham City, facing off against litany of bad guys such as The Joker, The Penguin and Catwoman. West's version of Batman was forced into repeatedly laughable imbroglios, which included him fending off sharks, running with lit bombs and walking along the sides of tall buildings engaged in full conversations with Robin.
In at least two episodes, West's spin on the "Watusi" —a popular dance move of the era — became a national craze in itself, and was rechristened the "Batusi."