West first gained attention in Hollywood for appearing in a series of films with legendary performers including The Young Philadelphians with Paul Newman, Soldiers in the Rain with Jackie Gleeson and Steve McQueen, and The Outlaws Is Coming, which marked the final feature film starring The Three Stooges. But it was his role as the iconic dual character Bruce Wayne/Batman on the groundbreaking ‘60s satire series Batman that made West a household name. While the actor turned down an opportunity to play James Bond in Diamonds are Forever, he went on to appear in such beloved TV series as The Big Valley, Police Woman, Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, and Hart to Hart.
West continued to embody the character of Batman throughout most of his career appearing in the 1966 film version of the popular show, the 1979 live-action TV special Legends of the Superheroes, as well as in numerous animated series including The New Adventures of Batman, Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show, The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians, Batman: The Animated Series, and Batman: The Brave and the Bold. But he is probably now best known by television audiences for his role as the eponymous Mayor Adam West on the extremely popular and culturally groundbreaking Fox animated series Family Guy.
Since becoming Managing Editor of iamROGUE over a year ago, I have had the rare opportunity to speak to many of my childhood heroes including Francis Ford Coppola, Nicolas Cage, Boba Fett (Jeremy Bulloch), and even Kermit the Frog. But when it comes to actually speaking with BATMAN … really nothing else can compare. After receiving his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, I had the pleasure of speaking to Adam West about his recent honor. The actor talked about receiving his star, Family Guy, the upcoming Vol. 10 DVD, working with Seth MacFarlane, his political past, spoofing his own image, his proudest career moments, a rumor that he will appear in The Dark Knight Rises, and the legacy of playing the iconic caped crusader.
Here is what the Hollywood icon had to say:
IAR: Good morning Mr. West, it is a pleasure to speak with you sir.
Adam West: I’m well Jami, how are you doing?
I’m doing great. I’m a big fan of your work.
West: Well, I appreciate that.
I wanted to begin by saying congratulations on your long overdue but very deserved star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
West: Thanks Jami. You know I’ve waited I guess longer than most actors for this.
Well, what does it mean to you to now at this point in your life and career to have achieved this great honor?
West: I think Jami, that as you get older you appreciate these things more. So any notice of my work or my career is welcomed. You know, I don’t get this everyday. I have no Oscar, I have no Emmy, I have no Grammy, I have no Tony, but I have a star!
And you are a big star in your own right as well.
West: Well that’s okay… you can just keep walking on me.
I understand that the ceremony was actually recorded and will appear as a special feature on the upcoming Vol. 10 DVD release of Family Guy, is that correct?
West: Well I hope so because I’m a huge fan of Family Guy. Are you?
Oh yes, I’m a big fan of the show but especially a big fan of your work on the series. What has it been like for you to be a member of that cast and to get to spoof your own persona a bit?
West: It has been delightful. You know Seth (MacFarlane) is like my young mentor. I love him because of his wonderful social satire and commentary. It’s just so absurd. I love the humor.
Is the type of humor that they do on Family Guy the kind of comedy that you usually enjoy?
West: Pretty much.
I understand that you had actually met Seth before Family Guy from working on a different series. What was your reaction when he approached you to join Family Guy as essentially a fictionalized version of yourself?
West: Well I get to have some fun with myself and do something in the theater of the absurd, and it all just sort of goes with my particular comic sensibility I guess.
Has there been anything in the time that you have worked on the show that Seth or the writers have asked you to do that you didn’t feel comfortable with or felt didn’t fit well with the Adam West persona?
West: Yes … just about two hundred and thirty-two of them.
Wow, so just about every episode has pushed your limits then?
West: You know, I’ll tell you. That’s one of the challenges, to have your limits pushed. I don’t care if it’s in the theater, making a movie, or what. It’s fun to try and bring something fresh, and as you said, have your limits pushed.
So nothing is too uncomfortable for Mayor West?
West: No! And you better vote for me!
Do you have a favorite episode or something that you’ve done on the show so far that you’ve really enjoyed?
West: Well if you don’t vote for me I’m going to get my cat-launcher and come after you.
Did you like the episode where you sang the Adam West song? That’s one of my favorite episodes.
West: Adam West, Adam West (Singing). You know, its fun to be a boy singer.
Do you ever get a script for an upcoming episode and just say, “This is crazy. I can’t believe they want me to do this!”
West: Yes Jami I do.
Since you play the Mayor on Family Guy I wanted to ask if you ever considered getting into politics yourself?
West: Well I was the Mayor of Pacific Palisades for two consecutive terms but it was honorary and based on vast corruption.
Can you talk about the affair that took place on the show between your character and Lois Griffin?
West: It’s almost too sexy to talk about. I’m going to see a doctor this morning. There may be symptoms that I can’t deal with.
Have you completed your recording for the rest of this season already?
West: I have no idea Jami. I don’t want to know Jami. I have no idea what I’m doing.
So they just call you up, tell you where to go, what to say and you do it, is that how the show works?
West: Sort of like that yes.
You have done a lot of voice over work throughout your career; do you find it as challenging as live action acting?
West: Just send the check. Are you there, Jami? Voice over work is wonderful. Anytime there is work that I want to do, I do it. I’ve had a very mysterious career as you know. It’s been eclectic. I’ve done a lot of turkeys and then I’ve done some very good films. I’ve done maybe twelve TV pilots but when you have a chance to do things that go on and on, and become classics and part of popular culture, I’m the luckiest guy in the world (between) Batman and Family Guy.
When you look back on your impressive career, is there a project in particular that you are most proud of doing?
West: Well you know I think performing on the Mark Taper theater stage, or other stages in theater, or a couple of good movies, or some of the really funny stuff that I’ve been able to do on television, and I don’t have a favorite. I enjoyed, for example, doing Gunsmoke as a cowboy or Maverick. I think maybe I’m peculiar in that I enjoy it all. I think you just have to. You just try to find a way to do something fresh and enjoy it.
There was a rumor going around on the Internet that you may have a cameo appearance in The Dark Knight Rises, is that true? Can you please confirm or deny that rumor?
West: I do not subscribe to rumors. I’ve heard that I’ve been seen at a pub in London and that I was about to go to a sound stage and do something with the new Batman. Not true! Jami, where do you get this stuff?
I don’t know? Never trust the Internet. Well, thank you for clearing that up for us Mr. West. Finally, when I think of Batman … I think of Adam West. How do you feel to have been a part of such an iconic legacy?
West: Well Jami, you are a smart guy with a great sense of humor, this is good to be able to talk to someone who understands that, hey, its good to be an icon. Jami, I’m the luckiest guy in the world. To have been able to do a couple of roles that found their place in popular culture and they go on forever. This is terrific! Not many actors get a chance to do that. Maybe (William) Shatner or (Clint) Eastwood but there aren’t many.
Well thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me Mr. West, it was a true pleasure and congratulations again on your well deserved star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
West: My great pleasure Jami. Thank you.
Family Guy Volume 10 DVD will be available later this fall.
To listen to our exclusive interview with Adam West in its entirety, please click on the audio player below: