William West Anderson was born on September 19, 1928 in Walla Walla, Washington. At 14 Adam attended Lakeside School, then went on to Whitman College, where he got a degree in literature and psychology. During his last year of college he also married 17-year-old Billie Lou Yeager.
Adam got a job as a DJ at a local radio station, and enrolled at Stanford for post-grad courses. Drafted into the army, he spent the next 2 years starting military TV stations. Afterwards, Adam and his wife toured Europe, visiting Germany, Switzerland and Italy's Isle of Capri. When the money ran out, he joined a childhood and college buddy, Carl Hebenstreit, who was starring in the kiddie program "The Kini Popo Show" in Hawaii. Adam would eventually replace Carl but not the other star, Peaches the Chimp. In 1956 he was divorced and married Ngatokoruaimatauaia Frisbie. They had a daughter, Jonelle, in 1957 and a son, Hunter, in 1958. In 1959 Adam came to Hollywood. He adopted the stage name "Adam West", which fit his roles, as he appeared in a few westerns.
After seven years in Hollywood, he achieved fame in 1966 in his signature role as Batman, in the wildly popular ABC-TV series "Batman" (1966). The series, which lasted three seasons, made him not just nationally but internationally famous. The movie version, Batman (1966), earned Adam the "Most Promising New Star" award in 1967. The downside was that the "Batman" fame was partly responsible for ruining his marriage, and he would be typecast and almost unemployable for a while after the series ended.
In 1972 he met and married Marcelle Tagand Lear, and picked up two stepchildren, Moya and Jill. In addition, they had two children of their own: Nina West in 1976 and Perrin in 1979. You can't keep a good actor down -- Adam's career took off again, and he has been in about 50 projects since then: movies, TV-movies and sometimes doing voices in TV series. Adam wrote his autobiography "Back to the Batcave" in 1994. One of his most prized possessions is a drawing of Batman by Bob Kane with the inscription "To my buddy, Adam, who breathed life into my pen and ink creation".
West appeared in one Euro-western: “The Relentless Four” (1965). Today we celebrate Adam West’s 85th birthday.