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Actor Adam West played the crime-fighting superhero Batman on the 1966 television series. The phenomenal popularity of the series made West a household name.
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In the summer of 1966, West starred in the full-length feature Batman. The theatrical version pitted the superhero against an all-star cast of villains, including Frank Gorshin's Riddler, Burgess Meredith's Penguin, and Lee Meriwether's Catwoman.
After two successful seasons,
escalating production costs and flagging ratings caused ABC to cancel the Batman series. Typecasting brought West's career to a grinding halt. With an overwhelming sense of failure, he was reduced to making guest appearances as Batman at county fairs and rodeos.
Over the next few years, West took whatever work he was offered, ranging from low-budget embarrassments like The Happy Hooker Goes to Washington (1977) to quality projects like the action-laced comedy Hooper (1978). During the 1980s, he was featured in a slew of forgettable projects, including the raunchy motorcycle film Hellriders (1984) and the amateur horror movie Zombie Nightmares (1986).
In 1989, West enjoyed a resurgence of popularity with the highly anticipated release of Tim Burton's blockbuster Batman, which featured Michael Keaton in the title role. To coincide with the film, the original Batman series returned to airwaves around the world. During the 1990s, three more full-length Batman installments were released—Batman Returns (1992), Batman Forever (1995) and Batman & Robin (1997).
Most recently, West made appearances or has done voiceover work on many of America's most popular TV shows, including 30 Rock, The Simpsons, Family Guy and Politically Incorrect. In 1950, West married his college friend Billie Lou Yeager. The couple divorced in 1956. The following year, he wed a Hawaiian dancer, Nga Dawson, with whom he had two children. In 1962, his second marriage fell apart when Nga left him for another man. In 1970, he married Marcelle Lear. West and Lear had two children.
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