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West’s campy version of Batman became a hit for ABC in 1966, but his success in the series made it difficult for him to find other starring roles during his six-decade career.

“You can’t play Batman in a serious, square-jawed, straight-ahead way without giving the audience the sense that there’s something behind that mask waiting to get out, that he’s a little crazed, he’s strange,” West told the Archive of American Television in 2006.

Burt Ward, who played Batman’s sidekick, Robin, said he was friends with West 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,” Ward told Variety. “This is a terribly unexpected loss of my lifelong friend. I will forever miss him.””

 

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